Ever met any old sailors with multiple tattoos of girls’ names crossed out one after the other?
First he met Elsie, a glamorous blonde. When she dumped him he took up with Bessie, a seductive brunette. When she dumped him he found happiness with Dolores, a buxom red-head ... and so it goes on.
Never met one? I’m surprised. Lakes District is full of them. Or to be more precise, it’s full of people happy to commit themselves wholeheartedly to something without finding out a bit more about it first.
Living their life through headlines, you could say. Not that I’m talking specifically, of course. As if.
But let’s pick a subject at random such as, well, oh yes, the rates review, just off the top of my head.
All we say is “next best thing to a bed tax” and before you know it people are hurling the words ‘tax’ and ‘bed’ into the same sentence, while simultaneously going red in the face and blaming anybody who’s ever been on council for everything from the weather to the axe marks on Queenstown’s lovely old trees. And sometimes they’re right.
But for those of you about to send your blood pressures rising with a list of assumptions based on a rumour you heard in the pub being discussed by a couple of people whose aunty’s friend’s dog’s previous owner once stayed in a motel, here’s bed tax 101…
The cost of hosting visitors has been covered by rates for around the last 20 years. It’s collected through the accommodation and commercial sector.
Queenstown Lakes District Council won’t be adding an extra layer of bureaucracy, and spending more money to do the same thing.
So, we’re not proposing a bed tax.
We just tried to explain that to everyone. Rates are complex – maybe not perfect, but that’s what we have – and they work.
If you want more details, come and look at the documents at the council offices.
Read all about it and if you still have a problem after that, fine, please come and tell us. Your views are an important part of the process. Time it right and you might even have a cup of tea while you talk.
Far be it for me to say that people who want to get involved with council policy and planning have a responsibility to educate and inform themselves on the facts first.
So I won’t.
And far be it for me to remind them they don’t even have to get off their bums to get on their high horses. Fire up the laptop and visit www.qldc.govt.nz - we’ll bring the whole thing to your living room.
So I won’t.
Mind you, it always fascinates me when people start trotting out systems that work well in other countries, as if that means they’d automatically work perfectly here.
Sure, everything’s worth listening to but do some basic research first before you present those comparisons.
Remember the context of our corner of the world. We don’t have the scale of a major city for one thing, which makes a considerable difference.
And while you’re pondering how everyone else in the world is so much better at things than we are, have you ever thought that people who’ve been here might be telling their local councils back home how good the QLDC system is?
“They don’t have a bed tax in the Southern Lakes – it’s all built in to the rates. Simple!”
Come in or get online. You might just find something to be proud of here. Meanwhile, best not get that ‘I hate bed tax’ tattoo just yet, though, eh?
Vanessa van Uden is the Queenstown Lakes mayor
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