Poto prefers “Piopiotahi” – does this portend “Milford Sound” being purged from promotions, or is perplexity part of the plan?

Buzz from the Beehive

What’s in a name?

Millions of dollars, when it comes to promoting places like “New Zealand” and “Milford Sound” as international tourist destinations over many years.

But whoa. Our international marketing will need overhauling to deal with the confusion generated by political linguistics.

Our monitoring of The Beehive website today threw up a headline that read:

Ministers outline next phase of Milford Opportunities Project

The opening sentence of the press release in the names of Conservation Minister Poto Williams and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash advised us of

“… a productive visit to Piopiotahi to hear directly from tourism operators, iwi and the unit undertaking feasibility planning.” 

Piopiotahi and Milford Sound – of course – are the same place.  Whether overseas tourists appreciate this is a moot point.

The news from Williams and Nash is to be found alongside news from Ministers who are

  • Headed for Singapore for a CPTPP Commission Meeting

Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to Singapore this week for the Sixth Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission Meeting.

New Zealand’s two-way trade with the CPTPP bloc accounts for 27 per cent of our total trade. Around $20 billion a year of our exports go to CPTPP partners.

  • Helping victims of family violence

Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment Priyanca Radhakrishnan has officially launched a suite of new digital tools (rather than second-hand ones, presumably) to support people affected by family violence.

They include a centralised 24/7 phone and online-chat support service, a dedicated website with interactive resources for those seeking help, and a new online space specifically driving behaviour change for those who may use violence.

  • Bursting to bray about the strength of Government books

The Government has delivered a set of books that are among the strongest in the world, ending the 2021/2022 fiscal year in a stronger position than forecast and ensuring New Zealand is well placed to respond to an increasingly volatile global economy, said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

For the year to the end of June 2022, the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) recorded a deficit of $9.7 billion, roughly half of what was forecast just months ago at Budget 2022.

“We’ve delivered Government books that not only compare favourably with the comparable stage during the Global Financial Crisis, but across the key economic measures of growth, unemployment and Government debt we’re in a better or similar position to the likes of Australia, the US, UK and Canada,” Grant Robertson said. 

National’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis and  ACT leader David Seymour found a more troubling story in the books:

Willis said the  financial statements show the Government is raking in more cash than ever before.

In just five years, tax revenue has soared 43 per cent from $76 billion to $108 billion – an average of $15,000 more in tax for every household in the country.

Seymour said Labour spent $9 billion more than they taxed in 2021/22. even though taxes were up $9.9 billion, or 10 per cent from the previous year.

In the press statement about Fiordland, Conservation Minister Poto Williams said the next phase of Milford Opportunities Project is to stringently test the recommendations of the Milford Opportunities Masterplan announced  last year.

“While there are elements of the masterplan’s recommendations to consider, there is strong support for the purpose of this work—to protect and restore Piopiotahi and ensure an outstanding visitor experience.” said Poto Williams.

So, she favours Piopiotahi.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash, however, said:

“Creating a world-class experience at Milford Sound, that manages visitor impacts while supporting local communities, businesses, and Ngāi Tahu, is a key priority for our Government,” said Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.

Point of Order’s somewhat cursory research found that in 1812 the first European, Captain John Grono, sailed into the sound.  He named the area “Milford Haven” after his homeland in Wales.

It was later renamed Milford Sound by Captain John Lort Stokes and then officially called Milford Sound/Piopiotahi when the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act of 1998 came into effect.

We proceeded to consult an overseas travel writer who wrote:

Milford Sound is acclaimed to be the most popular tourist destination in all of New Zealand, unofficially the 8th Wonder of the World, and is rated as one of the world’s top travel destinations.

How many places in the world can say that?

Another tourism website says:  

The beautiful island country of New Zealand is a must to add to your travel destinations. Comprising a north and south island, each offers you an outdoor adventure of a lifetime!

You can explore treasured nature parks and marine reserves, lush rainforests, stunning mountains, and waterfalls that take your breath away. On the southern island, you will find the majestic Milford Sound.

Undoubtedly, one of the most gorgeous fjords on our planet, it was non-officially called the eighth wonder of the world by Poet and Author of “The Jungle Book” Rudyard Kipling during his travels in 1891.

Moreover, Milford Sound is rated one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. The well-developed tourism ensures the best service and tours. Including Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls.

Point of Order then dug up a Newsroom report posted in July  last year headed Sweeping changes proposed for Milford Sound.

This was about the Milford Opportunities Project masterplan, the subject of the press release from Williams and Nash.

Significantly, it suggests confusion about the name might be the point of the exercise because the strategy planners seem keen to dampen the demand from international visitors.

International visitors will be need a permit to go to Milford Sound under radical plans announced today. 

The Milford Opportunities Project masterplan also recommends the airstrip be closed, cruise ships banned, and a new park-and-ride system operate from a hub in Te Anau. 

The goal is to stop Milford Sound Piopiotahi being the “rush-in, rush-out place” it has become in recent years, with bus loads of tourists day-tripping from Queenstown, says project group chair Dr Keith Turner. 

Instead, visitors will be encouraged to also spend time in Te Anau and various stop offs along the Milford Road, as well as travelling to other spots throughout Southland.

This report noted that visitor numbers “to UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound” peaked at 870,000 in 2019, up from 430,000 in 2013.

“While Covid set back the numbers, we expect them to return because it is a rare opportunity to visit true wilderness,” Dr Turner said.

And:

Dr Turner says the project group, which began work in 2017, received strong feedback “that the numbers, intensified by mass arrivals of buses from Queenstown around lunchtime, were causing parking congestion in many places, problems on the Milford Road and at the sound itself”.

Too much of a good thing, it seems.

Tourists can’t be culled like invasive deer but they can be discouraged.

Latest from the Beehive

5 OCTOBER 2022

Trade Minister heads to CPTPP Commission Meeting

Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor will travel to Singapore this week for the Sixth Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission Meeting.

Strong Government books leave New Zealand well placed amid global challenges

The Government has delivered a set of books that are among the strongest in the world, ending the 2021/2022 fiscal year in a stronger position than forecast and ensuring New Zealand is well placed to respond to an increasingly volatile global economy.

Ministers outline next phase of Milford Opportunities Project

The Milford Opportunities Project is entering its next phase following a productive visit to Piopiotahi to hear directly from tourism operators, iwi and the unit undertaking feasibility planning.

4 OCTOBER 2022

Digital tools to make family violence support widely available

The Government is taking the important steps to modernise access and better connect New Zealanders experiencing family violence to the services that can support them.

 

 

 

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