Queenstown needs government dough

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Head honchos from the Canadian town of Whistler think the New Zealand government should help fund Queenstown’s growth.

Whistler municipality chief executive Bill Barratt and general manager of policy and program development Mike Vance are in NZ to discuss tourism, community and sustainable growth.

Whistler resort has a smaller permanent population than Queenstown but attracts more tourists and receives government funding for infrastructure and tourism marketing.

Barratt and Vance think the same should happen here.

“You’re competing in an international destination resort market [which] is competitive. You can’t just do it on the hack,” Vance says.

Barratt and Vance say extra funding is essential to “level the playing field”, and at the same time “take a bit of a load off the local taxpayers”.

Vance adds: “I don’t see any difference between you competing with Australia or other resorts in the area, so you want to make sure you have the ability to do that. [Government funding] just gives you more flexibility to invest in your tourism product.”