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Hospitality and the new government: What lies ahead for our business owners?

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As we await the final outcome of the upcoming election, one thing has already been confirmed: New Zealand is on the brink of a change in government. With National and Act poised to form a coalition, there will be some significant shifts in policy. What will the changes mean for the hospitality industry?

National’s 100-Day Action Plan, unveiled prior to the election, outlines a series of key priorities for the new government. Here’s a look at how some of the priorities that affect small business owners in the hospitality sector:

  • Repealing “Fair Pay” (FPA) Legislation: National have stated that they aim to repeal Labour’s “Fair Pay” legislation, with the hospitality FPA currently scheduled to start bargaining shortly.
  • Reinstating 90-Day Trial Periods: National will introduce legislation to restore 90-day trial periods for businesses of all sizes.
  • Fuel Tax Relief: National aims to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax, which currently adds 11.5 cents per litre to petrol costs or $7.70 for a full tank.
  • Cancelling Planned Fuel Tax Hikes: Additionally, they plan to cancel Labour’s proposed fuel tax hikes, which would have added another 12 cents per litre or an extra $8 for a full tank.
  • Discontinuation of Income Insurance Scheme: National intends to halt any work on Labour’s Income Insurance Scheme.
  • Safety and security focus: National plans to introduce legislation to ban gang patches and prevent gang members from gathering in public
  • Te Pūkenga Merger Reversal: National intends to disestablish Te Pūkenga and return decision-making power to local authorities, which will have an impact on industry training programmes and workforce development in hospitality.

Additionally, National has unveiled their Tourism Plan, outlining the ways they intend to bolster New Zealand’s tourism industry. While this plan may not specify hospitality-focused priorities, it contains elements that could benefit our sector. The Association supports the priority to ensure we can get access to the staff we need so we can continue to operate and deliver visitors the world-class experiences and hospitality New Zealand is known for. Their immigration support will include:

  • Priority Visa Processing: National plans to introduce a priority immigration processing service, which will expedite visa applications for migrants and businesses in need of quick staff recruitment.
  • Flexible Wage Requirements: They will eliminate the median wage requirement, allowing businesses in sectors like tourism to attract staff at wages that reflect their skills and experience.
  • Increasing age limit for Working Holiday Visas (WHV): National will increasing the upper age limit to apply for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand from 30 to 35 for eligible countries.
  • Multiple WHV Applications: People from eligible countries working in areas with labour shortages, such as hospitality and tourism, will be allowed to apply for a second or third Working Holiday Visa.

In the coming weeks, we will be briefing incoming Government Ministers on the critical role that the hospitality industry plays in New Zealand’s economy and educating them on our value and our current challenges, as we’ve outlined in our Election Manifesto. We will discuss what you have communicated to us are your key priorities We will keep you informed on how the plans are progressing and conversations we are having with Ministers and provide you with any guidance needed to adapt to new policies and opportunities that may arise under the new government

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