Vis­i­tors happy to pay $25 tax to en­ter NZ

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

DASHA KUPRIENKO

Tourists say New Zealand is worth pay­ing $25 for.

The Gov­ern­ment an­nounced on Fri­day it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing a po­ten­tial tourism tax. It has launched a con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod to see if an in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor levy would ease the bur­den on com­mu­ni­ties and ratepay­ers for tourism-re­lated in­fra­struc­ture.

The pro­posed levy would be be­tween $25 and $35 for each in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor en­ter­ing New Zealand for 12 months or less, apart from Aus­tralian cit­i­zens, most Pa­cific Is­land Fo­rum coun­tries and per­ma­nent res­i­dents.

French tourist Lu­cile Car­dona, 27, who was in Queenstown on Fri­day, said she sup­ported the tourism tax idea.

The fee would be small com­pared to visa costs and flights to New Zealand.

‘‘If you want to come and work here you have to pay $200 for a visa, but if you come as a vis­i­tor for three months you don’t have to pay.’

Car­dona did not think fewer tourists would visit New Zealand if the levy was adopted.

‘‘It’s not a lot so I think it would be all good.’’

Amer­i­can tourists Elisabeth and Lori Steiger said they would not mind pay­ing a fee to en­ter New Zealand.

‘‘It’s such a beau­ti­ful coun­try that I can see we need to pro­tect it. I don’t think it would be too in­tru­sive, it’s well worth the visit here – it’s so beau­ti­ful,’’ Lori Steiger said.

Elisabeth Steiger said pay­ing more than $35 would be ‘‘too much’’.

‘‘There are a lot of at­trac­tions that cost $100 or $200 and it would make a small dent in avail­able funds. Fifty dol­lars would be the most I’d pay over­all but any­thing above that would be a bit ridicu­lous, es­pe­cially with how many tourists come here in the first place.’’

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult was dis­ap­pointed with the Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal and said a bed tax was a more ‘‘log­i­cal’’ con­cept which he would con­tinue to lobby for.

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