WE SAY

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

Labour’s plan to tax in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors to help pay for re­gional in­fra­struc­ture fur­ther recog­nises the gov­ern­ment must help ease the bur­den brought by the boom.

Pre­vi­ous and con­sis­tent calls from district coun­cils en­cour­aged the gov­ern­ment to start what be­came a $25 mil­lion re­gional in­fra­struc­ture fund. It pro­vided for the de­vel­op­ment of carparks, free­dom camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties, sew­er­age and wa­ter works and trans­port projects.

Labour’s $25 levy would dou­ble the size of the in­fra­struc­ture fund - it would be an air­port charge atop of oth­ers.

It is ridicu­lous to say vis­i­tors who spend plenty to fly here will be both­ered with a levy equiv­a­lent to a cou­ple of beers on the flight over.

But it is, per­haps, less ridicu­lous to con­sider whether a new levy is needed when the gov­ern­ment has spent years cash­ing in from the tourism boom.

Vis­i­tors pay well-in-ex­cess of $1 bil­lion in GST a year.

It has helped the gov­ern­ment’s sur­plus grow to $3.7 bil­lion, buoyed by a tax take that was $1 bil­lion health­ier than ex­pected at bud­get time.

Our politi­cians ac­knowl­edge the re­gions need help. Help could come quickly well be­fore even the most well-mean­ing levy were im­posed at the bor­der.

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