Visitor tax has merit says Key
Prime Minister John Key gave Queenstown’s business community the strongest indication yet that he may support a tourist tax, but says New Zealanders will likely be paying it also.
Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, Key said tourists outnumbered the Queenstown-Lakes rate base by 25 to one and ratepayers could not realistically be expected to meet infrastructure demands.
The chamber, Queenstown Lakes District Council and outgoing Mayor Vanessa van Uden have been pushing the Government to legislate for a tourist tax.
Key said he was awaiting a private sector review of whether a tax or levy would work, led by Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon, and said a debate was inevitable.
The challenge was collecting the money, he said.
‘‘By definition if you do anything like a bed tax or departure