‘Bed tax’ gets green light from council
A controversial ‘‘bed tax’’ for Auckland accommodation providers will go ahead, with Auckland Council’s Governing Body voting 10-7 in favour of the proposal last week.
The targeted accommodation rate will result in hotels and motels charged extra to partially offset the cost of staging major events in the city.
It will mean nightly room rates bump up between $3 to $6 for hotels and $1 to $3 for motels.
The targeted rate is part of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s first budget, the 2017/2018 Annual Plan and will be adopted by the Governing Body on June 29.
Goff said it would free up $13.5 million of ratepayer funding which could be used to bolster transport and infrastructure.
He has previously said hotels and motels could pass on the cost to tourists as a surcharge.
Auckland Council’s Governing Body usually has 21 voting members including the Mayor who also has an additional casting vote.
But councillors Penny Hulse and Linda Cooper, who are involved with commercial accommodation organisations, recused themselves from all bed tax voting.
Goff hailed the vote as a win for Auckland.
‘‘With the targeted rate on accommodation we are asking accommodation providers to meet half of the cost of tourism marketing and events which previously fell totally on Auckland ratepayers,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s only fair that those who benefit directly from events that promote tourism share in that cost.’’
Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) and Hospitality New Zealand slammed the decision, labelling it ‘‘extremely disappointing’’ and unfair.
TIA chief executive Chris Rob- erts said it was based on bad information and a poor understanding of the workings of the visitor economy.
‘‘There is an alternative approach to the targeted rate,’’ Roberts said.
‘‘The commercial accommodation sector has repeatedly offered to work with the council to find a fair and sustainable way to make an appropriate contribution to the city’s visitor and event promotion activities.
‘‘It's only fair that those who benefit directly from events that promote tourism share in that cost’’
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s ‘bed tax’ will go ahead.