Vis­i­tor tax has merit says Key

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DEB­BIE JAMIESON

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

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