Tourism Infrastructure Fund panel

A panel of independent advisers, tourism sector and government representatives reviews Tourism Infrastructure Fund applications and makes recommendations to the Minister of Tourism.

Panel members

The Tourism Infrastructure Panel has 4 members appointed by the Minister of Tourism.

Current members

The current members of the Tourism Infrastructure Panel are:

Norm Thompson, Chair

Norm Thompson enjoyed a long career at Air New Zealand and held the role of deputy CEO prior to his retirement at the end of 2013. Norm has served as a member of the New Zealand Tourism Board, Chairman of both the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand and Air New Zealand Environment Trust and recently completed a 6 year term as a Director of Queenstown Airport.

He is a professional director and is currently:

  • Chair of New Zealand Hotel Holdings,
  • Chair of Auckland Unlimited Destination committee,
  • Trustee and Chair of Young Enterprise,
  • Chair of Preno Ltd (a young tech company focused on the accommodation sector), and
  • a Director of Golf NZL.

Sarah Hannan

Sarah is currently the Programme Director for the Southland Regional Development Strategy. The Strategy was initiated by the Southland Mayoral Forum in 2014 with the goal of attracting 10,000 more people to live in Southland by 2025. She was formerly the Chief Executive of Southland Chamber of Commerce.

Sarah has 20 years’ experience in marketing and general management across a number of institutions, including the tourism, manufacturing and education sectors.

Penny Webster

Penny was the Auckland Councillor for Rodney Ward from 2010 – 2016, and the Mayor of Rodney District from 2007 – 2010. Penny was the Chair of the Auckland Mayoral Forum in 2008 and during her time as Auckland Councillor served as Chair of the Finance and Performance Committee, setting the LongTerm Plan. She served as Chair of Matakana Coast Tourism from 2017-2020, promoting tourism in the Matakana area.

In June 2018 Penny was honoured with a life membership of Local Government New Zealand to recognise her “outstanding contribution to the sector, community and LGNZ”.

Penny is a member of the International Visitor Levy Advisory Group. She was an MP for ACT from 1999-2002 and was spokesperson for Transport, Tourism, and Internal Affairs.

Neil Taylor

Neil Taylor is a former Chief Executive of Napier City Council. He retired in 2013 after 20 years in the role. More recently he has provided consultancy services on local government projects, helped Hastings District Council during the Havelock North water contamination inquiry, and spent time as acting CE for Hastings District and Napier City Councils in 2019 and 2020 while they both went through the process of appointing new CEs.

He has been credited for his strong fiscal management at Napier City Council and will bring a sound understanding of local government generally.

The role of the panel

Before each round of the fund opens, the Minister of Tourism releases a Priorities Statement setting out the objectives for that round.

MBIE review applications in consultation with other agencies where appropriate.

The panel considers feedback, and recommends funding for projects it believes will help meet the objectives in the Priority Statement. The Minister of Tourism and the Chief Executive of MBIE has have final approval over which applications are funded.

Tourism Infrastructure Fund — Application and assessment process

Last updated: 01 March 2022