The return of entry fees for Kiwis at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is outrageous, says newly elected Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis, who is pinning the blame squarely on the Government.
As of Saturday New Zealanders will pay $15 to visit the grounds with children up to 18 free if accompanied by parents or caregivers. The charge for overseas visitors will remain at $25 with children free.
The Waitangi National Trust says it is necessary because the drop in tourism caused by the global financial crisis means there are not enough fee-paying overseas visitors to subsidise free entry for locals.
Mr Davis said if there was one place in the country that should be free to New Zealanders, it was the birthplace of the nation.
He said the Government had a duty to fund the Waitangi National Trust, which owns the Treaty grounds, so Kiwis did not have to pay.
Trust chief executive Greg McManus said the Treaty grounds received no operational funding from the Government and it relied on admission fees and income from its land and forest.