Productivity Commission supports accommodation levy call, tourism industry disappointed

Productivity Commission supports accommodation levy call, tourism industry disappointed


Queenstown’s bid to introduce a “bex tax” has support from the New Zealand Productivity Commission. The commission’s draft report on local government funding and financing lists new funding tools for tourism hot spots as one of the four most important changes that must be made. The best way to address the issue is for central government to legislate to allow councils to implement local accommodation levies, it says. “The Government is already considering a legislative change to allow Queenstown Lakes District Council to introduce such a levy following a local referendum,” the report says. READ MORE: * Controversial $200m Queenstown hotel approved without public hearing * Queenstown accommodation providers worry proposed levy will cripple tourism * Battle over proposed Queenstown ‘bed tax’ looms * Queenstown council calls for urgent bed tax pilot “There is no reason why the option should be limited only to one district – the ability to introduce an accommodation levy would reduce cost pressure in tourism hot spots around the country.” In June, more than 80 percent of voters in a non-binding referendum the Queenstown Lakes voted in favour of a 5 per cent bed tax on visitors in the district. The Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has been opposed to the proposal and chief executive Chris Roberts said it was disappointed the commission had supported it. “While this might seem like an easy solution, it will not succeed in making visitors pay their fair share,” he said. It would only reach about one-third of visitors and would affect New Zealanders staying in commercial accommodation as well as international travellers. “New Zealand doesn’t need new taxes. What we need is to find ways to better share the taxes and charges we already collect.” TIA earlier proposed the Government return 20 per cent of the GST already collected from international visitors to help affected regions address tourism-related needs. The commission, an independent Crown entity that completes in-depth inquiry reports on topics selected by Government, found that overall the local government framework was relatively simple and economically efficient. However, there were areas where local governments would need assistance in the future, including with climate change issues. Submissions on the draft report are due by August 29m with a final report going to the Government on November 30.

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