New Zealand mulls tourist levy to save birds | DW Travel | DW | 31.05.2017
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New Zealand mulls tourist levy to save birds

A tourist levy could be used to save some of New Zealand's threatened bird species from extinction according to a parliamentary report that looks at the "desperate situation" of the county's birdlife.

Despite extensive conservation efforts, most of New Zealand's native birds are in trouble, the country's Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright said when presenting her report "Taonga of an island nation: Saving New Zealand's birds" in Wellington.

"A third are in danger of becoming extinct. This includes the kea, the only alpine parrot in the world," she said. It also included the wrybill, the only bird in the world with a beak that curves to the side and the whio, a duck that paddles through rough water like a white water kayaker. Of the 168 native bird species, 93 weren't found in any other country, Wright added.  The greatest threat to their survival is introduced predators such as possums, stoats, rats and feral cats.

The report suggests a "biodiversity border levy" payable by tourists to finance increased conservation efforts. "Tourists do not come to New Zealand to shop; they come because they have seen photographs of stunningly beautiful national parks," Wright said in her report.

She also encouraged the government to consider additional ways of charging tourists for the provision of infrastructure and services on conservation land. Currently, entry to national parks in New Zealand is free. The Department of Conservation only charges fees for accommodation in huts and campgrounds in the parks. 

is/at (with dpa)

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