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New Zealanders are split on the country’s growing cruise industry with some locals against the increased port calls, while others believe that it is key to the growth of the tourism industry.

Cruise lines have had some backlash from small communities like the Banks Peninsula village, which has a permanent population of only 650 residents. The township serves as the gateway to Christchurch in the sleepy region of Akaroa.

Cruise Lines International Association’s managing director Joel Katz said that the organisation and cruise companies will work with the locals to ease the pressure of added passengers in small towns.

He also said, that they key to ensuring that the community and cruisers can work harmoniously together, is by providing more infrastructure and attracting more cruise lines to homeport in New Zealand to help boost the economy.

A controversial mooring dolphin structure in Auckland was given the green light, and it will mean that bigger ships will be able to berth at Queens Wharf which is critical for the city’s future as a turnaround port.

“Boosting capacity in Auckland will ensure increasing demand among both New Zealanders and international visitors can be met in the future,” he said while releasing figures showing a boom in the popularity of cruising among Kiwis.

“This, together with the development of a new cruise berth at Lyttelton to serve Christchurch, gives us confidence New Zealand’s cruise sector will continue to grow well into the future.'”

But residents of Akaroa say that the sleepy Banks Peninsula village is being overrun during wave season. Some residents said the arrival of thousands of people on a weekly basis is putting a huge strain on local infrastructure, and the town is not getting help from the Christchurch City Council.

Prior to the 2011 earthquake, only a handful of ships visited Akaroa, but the 2019/20 wave season will see 120 ships berthing, bringing an estimated 200,000 visitors.