The boss of Queenstown’s tourism promotion body is confident its council-collected funding is safe despite a new law restricting council functions.
Changes to the Local Government Act 2002 mean local authorities have to stick to providing quality infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions that are most cost-effective to households and businesses.
They’re no longer required “to play a broad role in promoting the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their communities”.
Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd says removing those “well-beings, does leave in theory some risk to any local authority funding things that their community may not deem core. In many communities, that probably means potentially some risk to funding a tourism promotional office where tourism may not be core to that region.”
Budd says advice he’s had is if a council invests in something considered significant for a community, and has support, this should pass muster.
Most of DQ’s $3 million is from a compulsory business levy collected by Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Budd says the fact the business community originally asked council to collect the levy “should mean that already there’s endorsement from the community for that funding”.
Tourism’s core role here, compared to other places, should also help, Budd believes.
“The significant role that tourism plays in our communities does put us in a more comfortable place.”
Budd’s unfazed at council chief executive Adam Feeley querying the role of tourism funding in terms of the new Act at a DQ public meeting last year.
After going over local government’s new framework, Feeley said: “I’m not seeing a lot about tourism there.”
Budd: “I think Adam was flagging that the new Act had come to be and we all need to think about it. I have to remain confident our funding is secure and our council supports the continuation of the funding process, but we’ll be looking for a bit more clarity and certainty.”