‘Bed tax’ gets green light from coun­cil

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - SI­MON MAUDE

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’’

SI­MON MAUDE / FAIRFAX NZ

Auck­land Mayor Phil Goff’s ‘bed tax’ will go ahead.

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