How Jacinda Ardern's US television appearance will affect NZ

The AM Show 20/11/2019

Around 3.5 million US viewers got a taste of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last night.

Ardern appeared in a pre-recorded segment with The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, which was put together while he was visiting New Zealand in October.

Kiwi taxpayers stumped up $100,000 for five segments to help boost tourism numbers in one of our largest markets - the US.

Tourism NZ CEO Stephen England-Hall says the opportunity to appear on The Late Show was huge.

"The USA is one of our largest markets. It's one of the only markets that is still showing signs of growth, so we jumped on the chance to work with the show," he told The AM Show on Wednesday.

"Right now, you have to create content and stories that people can connect with, that creates a conversation…people need to buy into it," he said.

He says tourism is an incredibly important part of our economy. 

Tourism supports many of our communities; it employs one in seven kiwis.

"It's our top export earner, and it's a significant contributor to conservation as well as the economy. It's incredibly important we keep it that way," he told Duncan Garner.

But it's not an easy task.

"Global tourism is increasingly competitive," he continued.

"The global economy has started to slow down, the growth rate is slowing down, and tourism is one of those areas that seem to be impacted more accurately."

Arrivals into New Zealand are down 0.9 percent according to England-Hall

But while there are fewer visitors, the money they are spending has increased.

"Tourism NZ's goal is to drive the contribution of tourism - we want to increase the spend."

This latest media stunt could be huge, with Tourism New Zealand estimating the television appearance was worth $5 million in advertising.

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Vita Molyneux