The government of New Zealand has passed legislation which allows it to charge a NZ$35 tourist tax.

The International Visitor Levy will be collected through the immigration system, with travellers paying alongside visa or New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) fees.

It is expected to generate more than NZ£450 million over five years, which tourism minister Kelvin Davis said would be use for “funding projects to ensure our country and our people get the best from tourism growth”.

He added: “Our international visitors will be contributing directly to the infrastructure they use and helping to protect the natural places they enjoy.”

Conservation minister Eugenie Sage said: “As visitor numbers rise we must ensure the tourism industry is part of the solution for our biggest conservation challenges; especially the impact of invasive predators like rats and stoats, and habitat loss and degradation. The levy enables visitors to give nature a helping hand.”

Around 1.5 million visitors travel to New Zealand each year from 60 visa waiver countries. There will be some exemptions to the levy, including Australian citizens, permanent residents and those from many Pacific Island countries.

Part of the legislation, passed on June 1, is to enable the digital processing of the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA), which will be mandatory from October 1.

Immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the move was “an important step in strengthening New Zealand’s border security” and would help create “a speedy and efficient service”.