How to spend revenue from the IVL

Funding raised by the IVL is currently split evenly between Conservation and Tourism. This funding is administered by DOC and MBIE, respectively.

Funding from the IVL may be spent on:

  • Conservation
  • Infrastructure used for tourism
  • Other initiatives related to tourism.[1]

Funds from the IVL are spent according to the IVL investment plan, which is available online[2]. The Government wishes to hear views on whether this investment plan should be changed and what changes are needed.

IVL funding can provide support to a range of different areas across the tourism and conservation portfolios. These include, but are not limited to, contributing to the funding of things which will;

  • Address visitor pressure on mixed-use tourism infrastructure and wider tourism assets.
  • Address visitor pressure on the public conservation estate.
  • Support investment into ‘club goods’, projects or initiatives that the tourism or conservation sector might benefit from, but are hard for individual businesses to develop or commercialize.
  • Contribute to the funding mix for international tourism marketing costs (investment into Tourism New Zealand).
  • Support ongoing or future Crown investment into tourism and conservation related activities.
  • Fund, or contribute to the funding of, other initiatives relating to tourism.

Address visitor pressure on tourism infrastructure and wider tourism assets

Catering for and managing ongoing tourism growth requires a wide range of funding across several areas. This could include investment into physical assets such as mixed-use infrastructure or funding of the services that support the running of a successful tourism system, such as tourism data.

Tourism infrastructure

A report authored by tourism sector leaders in late 2016 estimated that an ongoing investment programme for local infrastructure of $100 to $150 million (shared between private sector, local and central government) was required each year to meet visitor demand[3].

There are a range of options for how to address infrastructure issues. For example,

  • Part-funding and supporting the development of City/Regional deals with tourism or conservation elements.
  • Supporting the development and delivery of Destination Management Plans (DMPs). These focus on addressing issues of social licence, environmental and infrastructure management, with a small number also having growth agendas.
  • Investment into mixed-use infrastructure (such as car parks and public toilets) at place via a contestable fund.

Tourism data

The IVL could invest to support the development and purchase of key tourism datasets. Data remains a crucial part of the strategic overview of the tourism sector. Certain elements of tourism data captured by Statistics New Zealand have stopped, and the small size of most tourism operators has meant that there is no obvious avenue for the sector to invest in data collection.

Wider tourism assets

This could include ongoing funding for New Zealand Cycle Trails but could be expanded to include other assets such as tramping and walking tracks.

Address visitor pressure on the public conservation estate

International visitors are regular users of public conservation land, with 50% visiting a national park during their trip[4]. As visitor numbers increase, DOC incurs additional maintenance costs across facilities such as tracks and huts. DOC manages over 21,800 visitor assets including 15,000km of tracks, 2,170 visitor buildings, and 15,500 heritage sites.

In addition to recreation and tourism costs, DOC also incurs costs to deliver conservation outcomes. International visitors are drawn to New Zealand to experience our unique biodiversity and landscapes and benefit from DOC’s conservation work during their trips. An increase in funds from the IVL could be used to ensure international visitors make a greater contribution to funding the conservation work they come to enjoy, which forms a key part of New Zealand’s international image.

Based on 2018/19 visitor numbers and expenditure, DOC calculated that $96m of DOC’s expenditure is attributable to the impacts of international visitors.[5] Adjusted for inflation, this is $118m in 2024, around three times the $40m of conservation funding the IVL generates at its current amount.

Support investment into ‘Club Goods’ for Tourism and Conservation

In some cases, market forces provide no incentive for a single payer to address the investment gap in public goods for tourism or conservation. The IVL gives us the ability to intervene as an investor of last (or best) resort to address these shared challenges.

Industry good funding

In recent years the sector has developed long-term visions for tourism in New Zealand[6]. Officials could work with sector bodies to identify areas where these objectives align with the Government’s priorities, with funding allocated for industry to lead and deliver.

Delivering key shifts in conservation

There are ambitious goals for the future of conservation in New Zealand, including Predator Free 2050 and the outcomes defined in the Te Mana o te Taiao – the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy[7]. The IVL could be used to fund some of these key strategic shifts, acting as a catalyst for the changes we want to see across conservation in New Zealand.

Contribute to international tourism marketing costs (investment into Tourism New Zealand)

At present, New Zealand’s taxpayers are responsible for investment into Tourism New Zealand, our international tourism marketing agency. We should consider whether the sector should contribute further to these costs. Given the current fiscal environment, including a reduction in Crown funding in several areas, We are seeking feedback on using the IVL to fund a portion of international marketing now and into the future. 

Support ongoing or future Crown investment into tourism and conservation functions

We acknowledge the importance of tourism to the New Zealand economy and conservation as a key enabler of tourism. However, it is appropriate to consider the relative contribution taxpayers and visitors make to funding the delivery of a range of functions such as protecting and restoring indigenous biodiversity, international marketing and tourism data and insights.

Fund, or contribute to the funding of, other initiatives relating to tourism

Tourism can encompass aspects of activities, entertainment, accommodation, hospitality, transport, culture and heritage and retail sectors, among others. IVL funding could be invested to help maintain key infrastructure or initiatives that tourism affects in other sectors to continue to serve international visitors and host communities in regional New Zealand.

Such an approach would need to align with how the IVL operates in legislation. Therefore, funding for other sectors would need to be limited to investment for initiatives specifically related to tourism or conservation.

Next steps

Following consultation on this document, the Government will analyse the responses and further develop its position on changing the amount of the IVL.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is required to conduct a review into the amount of the IVL at least every 5 years. The next review will be due by June 2029. This review may take place before that date.


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[1] S399A Immigration Act 2009(external link) — New Zealand Legislation website

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[2] International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy – Investment Plan 2023 [PDF, 1.8 MB]

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[3] Addressing New Zealand’s most pressing local tourism infrastructure needs [PDF 1.7MB](external link) — Tourism Industry Aotearoa

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[4] International Visitor Survey, Q4 2023.

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[5] Gross expenditure related to international visitors was $115.5m; $96m is the net amount taking account of contributions International Visitors make through GST and taxes paid by tourism businesses

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[6] He Pae Tukutuku – our 2050 Vision(external link) — Tourism Industry Aotearoa

Project Tōnui(external link) — Regional Tourism New Zealand

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[7] Te Mana o te Taiao - Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020 [PDF 2.8MB](external link) — Department of Conservation