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Tourist tax nonsensical: Industry leader

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/05/2017

Mayor Phil Goff's proposal to tax tourists visiting Auckland has only become more nonsensical now he has released a reviewed version of it, the tourism industry says.

Mr Goff wants tourists to pay a per-night levy on accommodation and his original targeted rates plan aimed to raise $27.8 million from 330 properties.

This income could fund the council's tourism and event promotion arm Ateed, which is currently funded by income from general rates.

However, the plan would leave the properties facing an average rates rise of 150 per cent, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

It says the original plan was bad, but Mr Goff's revised plan was even worse because under it holiday parks, including those owned by Auckland Council, backpackers and hostels would now be completely excluded.

"A backpackers in Queen St won't pay the rate but the hotel next door will. There is no logic behind that," TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says.

"This is a huge relief for these property owners, who were facing unjustifiable rate increases of up to 400 per cent. However, the burden placed on the remaining properties is still unfair."

Mr Roberts says Auckland Council had disappointingly created its revised proposal without any consultation.

He also says only nine per cent of visitors' money was spent on accommodation, meaning the levy disproportionately hit one segment of the tourism industry.

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