Update Statement From NZCA on Ponant Ship Le Laperouse

"New Zealand Cruise Association is devastated to learn today that Ponant has been forced to cease its plans to bring Le Laperouse to New Zealand, offering local cruises for Kiwis only.

Ponant was granted permission to operate by the Ministry of Health, in consultation with other Departments, in late December 2020, only to be denied entry by Immigration New Zealand at the last moment prior to arriving in New Zealand.

Many once-flourishing Kiwi companies country-wide are dependent on the cruise industry and are now even more concerned for their livelihoods. Le Laperouse would have safely brought more than $6m to New Zealand’s tourism economy.

"This cruel blow will be even more keenly felt within our harder hit regional communities. Now all opportunity has gone for this season and with it the small glimmer of hope that we all had. The industry has been abandoned by our Government," said NZCA CEO Kevin O’Sullivan.

Mr O’Sullivan says New Zealand Government departments must work better together.

"We deserve that as a nation. We must start working together to provide a pathway for resumption. It can be done. This should never have happened and this has, sadly, badly tarnished our country’s previous cruise-friendly reputation."

NZCA has requested meetings with Tourism Minister Stuart Nash since he has taken office but requests so far have been deferred."