Ministerial foreword

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.

I am delighted to welcome this draft Better Work Action Plan from the Industry Transformation Plan Leadership Group.

When I was appointed Minister of Tourism in November 2020, the tourism industry was uncertain about the future – as were the majority of New Zealanders. The impacts of COVID-19 were being felt acutely, but every day since then has brought a little more certainty. Today, the borders are open, international visitors are gradually returning, and tourism is picking up again.

But this does not mean a return to doing things the old ways. Other fundamental shifts, such as those presented by climate change and new technology, will present new challenges and opportunities. The world is changing, and we can either let that change happen to us, or we can be part of the change, and use this opportunity to make things better.

I have identified a regenerative tourism system as an ambition because I am excited about a future where tourism is giving back more than it takes from people, communities, and the environment: an industry that is less focused on volume and more on value. Talking to the tourism industry, I know it can deliver on this ambition and is motivated to do so.

But 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 to step up 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, and many work in the industry throughout their lives. Tourism gives these people valuable opportunities and skills that help them throughout their careers. But 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. This draft Action Plan was developed together by all parties, and I thank everyone who has contributed to this piece of work. Particularly, I want to thank our dedicated Leadership Group, who gave up their time when the industry was going through a particularly challenging period, to come together and work on this important agenda.

Ultimately, the success of these initiatives relies on continued partnership. We need all of you to get involved. If you haven’t already, now is your chance. I encourage you to share your feedback and contribute to the discussion.

While this has been a tough time for tourism around the world, I am excited for the coming months and years for tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand. This Industry Transformation Plan process gives me confidence that tourism has the leadership and vision required to make the changes needed. I look forward to seeing this draft Action Plan contribute to a stronger, more regenerative, and more resilient future for the industry.

Ngā mihi,
Hon Stuart Nash
Minister of Tourism