Winston Aldworth 's Opinion

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: Why PM's wandering eye does matter

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John Key chooses to take his family holidays in Hawaii. Photo / Thinkstock
John Key chooses to take his family holidays in Hawaii. Photo / Thinkstock

It's none of our business if any old Minister of Tourism - or any old Prime Minister, for that matter - chooses to take his family holidays in Hawaii each year.

But when John Key chose to pick up the tourism portfolio he was making a marque declaration about the industry's importance to New Zealand. Like David Lange baggsying the education portfolio back in the 1980s, this sends a powerful message - look Rest Of The World, this stuff is so important to us that the Prime Minister runs the shop ... er, when he's not tanning himself on Waikiki, of course.

It would be as if Murray McCully had sung the praises of the Rugby World Cup organisation, then turned up to the final in a France jersey and a beret.

When quizzed at last week's Trenz tourism conference about taking his big holidays in Hawaii rather than in New Zealand, Key - who takes shorter breaks at his holiday home in Omaha - had a smart enough answer.

"The reason I go is not because I don't love New Zealand. The reason I go is because if I truly want to have a couple of weeks where it's just me and the family - given the other 50 weeks it's seven days a week 360-odd days a year - I can't do that in New Zealand because you can't switch off being Prime Minster."

Yep, a smart enough answer. A smarter one might have been to say, "You know what, funny you mention it, next summer we are staying in New Zealand."

Go on, John, there are plenty of places a millionaire can hole up for a week or two of privacy in Nelson or Coromandel.

Snow big deal

We're heading for the snow this week with a look at the best budget fields around the world. The Japanese field of Rusutsu also gets a look in, with tourism in that country rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake. Flight Centre's Infinity Holidays say their bookings to Japan rose almost 10 per cent from February 2012 to February 2013.

Correction

The Qantas Founders Museum is in Longreach, Queensland, not in Winton, Queensland, as stated in a photo caption in last week's Travel.

- NZ Herald

Winston Aldworth

Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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