Pollies pivotal bed tax meet

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A watershed meeting in Wellington could be a turning point in bolstering Queenstown’s creaking infrastructure.

Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult is to meet Housing and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to discuss big-ticket issues for Queenstown in February.

”I have some confidence that we will finally get some traction with the visitor levy,” Mr Boult said.

While a visitor levy, or bed tax, has been mooted as a solution to Queenstown’s growth woes, it did not win the support of the former National government.

But, in November, new Labour Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said a visitor levy remained on the ”to-do” list.

Mr Boult said he was confident the Government would give it ”good consideration”.

”It is a way of enabling infrastructure around high tourism impact areas to develop, or to pay for infrastructure, without it costing the Government or the ratepayers.”

The Queenstown Lakes District Council and Queenstown Chamber of Commerce both support charging visitors as a means to improving infrastructure.

Mr Boult will also raise issues concerning housing, traffic and transport at the meeting.

He has already met Mr Davis.

”I think we have a government who are keen to address issues, and the way to get progress is to provide a solution and ask for their assistance in delivering it – not simply going and dumping all our troubles on them.”

louise.scott@odt.co.nz