Should a chunk of tourism GST re­turn to district?

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - REXINE HAWES

Tourists will spend about $162 mil­lion in Matamata-Pi­ako this year and about 15 per cent will au­to­mat­i­cally be fun­nelled into the Gov­ern­ment’s cof­fers.

But Mayor Jan Barnes is back­ing a plan to have some of that GST-take re­turned to the district.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand wanted to make sure a chunk of the GST Gov­ern­ment takes from tourism, ends up back with the peo­ple who worked hard to gen­er­ate the in­come.

It was a topic dis­cussed at the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand AGM.

The re­mit stated that coun­cil says lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s re­liance on prop­erty rates has se­ri­ously con­strained in­vest­ment in key lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture.

The pro­posal would be one step to­wards adopt­ing a strate­gic and co-or­di­nated ap­proach to in­vest­ment in re­gional tourism growth.

Barnes said coun­cils had to pro­vide in­fra­struc­ture for tourists as well, so it made sense for coun­cils to have a por­tion of the GST spent in their dis­tricts.

‘‘Why should cen­tral gov­ern­ment rip that off us?’’

Barnes said the coun­cil needed to ac­count for pub­lic toi­lets, car park­ing, rub­bish col­lec­tion, de­mands gen­er­ated by tourists.

‘‘Free­dom camp­ing is [also] an is­sue so we are say­ing please, could we have a por­tion on what is spent in our district?

‘‘I don’t think that’s un­rea­son­able for a ratepayer to ask that.’’

Barnes said there will al­ways be a por­tion for the ratepayer to fund, but there should be a tourism com­po­nent too.

Coun­cils could ap­ply to the Tourism In­fra­struc­ture Fund for projects, but Matamata-Pi­ako doesn’t qual­ify as it is in good shape fi­nan­cially.

‘‘We are ap­ply­ing to DoC to see if we can use some land to put a

‘‘Why should cen­tral gov­ern­ment rip that off us?’’

carpark on at our Wairere Falls,’’ Barnes said.

She said she has a meet­ing com­ing up with the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Paula Ben­nett to dis­cuss tourism, in re­la­tion to Wairere Falls.

Barnes said a con­trac­tor is work­ing on a plan for park­ing at the falls, own­ers.

‘‘When it comes to im­prov­ing our district in­fra­struc­ture, should the bur­den rest on the ratepayer, or can our district ben­e­fit from the goods and ser­vice tax?’’

It was a ques­tion raised at the AGM. with iwi and land

Min­istry of In­no­va­tion, Busi­ness and Em­ploy­ment pro­vided data which fore­cast the tourist spend to be about $162m in Matamata-Pi­ako.

Neigh­bours South Waikato’s tourism spend was an es­ti­mated $82m and Thames-Cor­ro­man­dal, $351m.

MARK TAY­LOR FAIR­FAX NZ

Matamata-Pi­ako mayor Jan Barnes has backed a plan by LGNZ to keep a chunk of GST to sup­port tourism in­fra­struc­ture in the re­gions it’s spent.

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