Bed tax ‘well advanced’


A case for a bed tax for Queenstown is “well advanced”, the local council’s staff say.

An economic report into how it will work should be with councillors within a couple of months.

Queenstown’s council began working about April last year on a proposal for the government to consider.

That followed a Local Government New Zealand review of funding that also mooted the idea of a bed tax for Queenstown.

The district has a relatively small population base of about 30,000, and a ballooning visitor population of about two million people a year.

The proposed levy will offset the cost of tourists on the district’s infrastructure.

In October, then council boss Adam Feeley said the council was working with the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce on further analysis.

Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden told the Otago Daily Times consultancy Sapere Research Group was engaged “some time ago” to write a report on various economic measures.

“What we’ve got to do is prove that we’re different from anywhere else.

“Then, it’s getting the head around how would we do it and what would we do with it.”

Regardless of what the report says, any tax is a matter for the government, she says.

“We don’t have the power to do a visitor levy in any way, shape or form.”

Council acting district plan boss Blair Devlin says the council had talked with the Queenstown Chamber and discussed the topic with central government.

He recommended councillors at today’s extraordinary full council meeting note the case for a bed tax is “well advanced”.

They should also send a copy of a report from the Queenstown Community Affordable Housing Work Group to Sapere for consideration.

Chamber boss Ann Lockhart couldn’t be contacted for comment.

The work group has recommended the council develop a 30-year strategic master plan or vision for the district, to be completed and in place by February 2018.

Devlin says the council should investigate that.

The group also wants the council to help accelerate community-based or affordable housing.

Devlin notes the council has set up an affordable housing trust, which gets $50,000 from the council each year, and given land in Suffolk St, Arrowtown, for an affordable rental development.

Councillors should consider if more should be done, such as handing over more land, Devlin says.

Otago Daily Times