He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.
Tēnā koutou katoa,
I am delighted to welcome the final Better Work Action Plan from the Industry Transformation Plan’s Better Work Leadership Group. This is the result of over a year’s hard work and stands us in good stead for a tourism industry that seeks to support and grow its people, and creates an aspirational vision for those looking for a career that can be as wide and varied as one’s imagination.
In November 2020, the tourism industry was dealing with issues associated with the global pandemic – as were the majority of New Zealanders. Today, however, the borders are open, international visitors are returning, and tourism is picking up again.
But this does not mean a return to doing things the old way. Other fundamental shifts, such as those presented by climate change and new technology, are creating challenges but also significant opportunities. For example, we must be acutely aware of the expectations of those who seek to travel here and work hard to ensure we exceed these expectations in a post-Covid era of change.
A regenerative tourism system was identified by my predecessor as an overarching ambition because tourism must now give more than it takes from people, communities, and the environment: it must be an industry that is less focused on volume and more on value. Only once we achieve such an ambition can we maintain our social license. I know the industry can deliver on this ambition and is motivated to do so.
Why Better Work? Because the Government’s objective of a higher wage, lower emissions economy is particularly relevant to tourism, where it is vital that the industry works together if it is to compete for labour and operate on a more sustainable basis. Many New Zealanders start their careers in a tourism or hospitality job, but too few consider developing a career within these sectors of our economy. Tourism gives these people valuable opportunities and skills that help them throughout their working lives. I believe we can make the employee experience better and, by doing so, build a stronger and more resilient tourism industry.
Industry Transformation Plans are all about partnership – they involve industry leaders, unions, Māori, and government. The Better Work Action Plan was developed together by all parties, and I thank everyone who has contributed to this piece of work, whether by attending a workshop or making a written submission on the draft version. In particular, I want to thank our dedicated Better Work Leadership Group who gave up their time, when the industry was going through a challenging period, to come together and work on this important agenda.
I look forward to seeing the Industry Transformation Plan contribute to a stronger, more regenerative, and more resilient future for the industry. But for that to happen, we all need to engage with the exciting initiatives put forward in the Better Work Action Plan. While focused on the wellbeing of the worker, there is a role for everyone to play, whether you are a business owner, worker, education institute, or a tourist. So, let’s all work together to turn these fantastic ideas into reality.
Hon Peeni Henare, Minister of Tourism