Dis­agree­ment on tourist tax

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DEB­BIE JAMIESON

The Mir­ror asked Waitaki elec­torate can­di­dates whether a vis­i­tor tax was needed to help fund the in­fras­truc­tural costs of tourism on small towns.

Alex Famil­ton said New Zealand First would pump tax rev­enue from tourism into lo­cal coun­cils, and all GST earned from tourists will be re­turned to the re­gion where the money was spent.

‘‘This will pay for up­grades to en­vi­ron­men­tal re­gen­er­a­tion, roads, toi­let fa­cil­i­ties, and new ven­tures, all of which are des­per­ately needed. The peo­ple in the re­gions cre­ate tourism wealth and they’re not get­ting their fair share.’’

Democrats for So­cial Credit can­di­date Hes­sel Van Wieren said his party’s com­mit­ment to us­ing Re­serve Bank Fund­ing in­stead of go­ing into debt to over­seas banks would en­sure all in­fra­struc­ture could be paid for.

‘‘Of course towns like Wanaka, Cromwell and oth­ers need fi­nan­cial sup­port.’’

Na­tional party can­di­date Jac­qui Dean said her party had ruled out a vis­i­tor tax be­cause the party did not be­lieve that the coun­try needed an ad­di­tional tax.

How­ever, it had al­lo­cated $102 mil­lion for new tourism in­fra­struc­ture in this year’s Bud­get and $76 mil­lion for con­ser­va­tion in­fra­struc­ture. It also planned to in­crease in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors’ charges for huts and camp­sites on walks. ‘‘I agree that tourist towns like Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexan­dra need sup­port to deal with grow­ing vis­i­tor num­bers,’’ she said.

Labour can­di­date Zelie Al­lan said the in­fra­struc­ture costs of tourism were dis­pro­por­tion­ally borne by smaller coun­cils and Labour would be charg­ing in­com­ing tourists a tourism tax of $25 each.

Pat Wall, of the Greens, also ’’firmly be­lieves’’ that there should be some sort of tar­geted vis­i­tor tax to raise funds that can be used to sup­port ar­eas that are pop­u­lar with tourists.

‘‘The use of those funds should be di­rected to as­sist the ar­eas that are most im­pacted.’’

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