Vacant land owners’ big rates win

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Vacant land owners are the big winners in Queenstown’s proposed rates changes. 

The overall contribution to Queenstown Lakes District Council’s general rate haul by developers and land bankers would drop from 17 per cent to 12. 

Council finance boss Stewart Burns says the previous differentials on vacant land were quite high because there was a lot of economic activity. 

“The idea was to encourage people to develop the land and get it onto the market. Now we’ve got quite a lot of sections on the market that don’t move. 

“They do benefit – but it’s just a proposal at this stage.” 

Among the proposals are controversial new rates aimed at recovering visitor costs from commercial and residential property owners and accommodation properties. 

Council communications boss Meaghan Miller says council has previously pushed for Central Government to consider legislating for a bed tax but it seems unlikely – despite Stewart Island getting one. 

“Stewart Island has one place you come in to collect the tax from the visitor whereas there are multiple avenues for getting in here so how do you police that – have someone standing on the road? Then there’s the airport,” Miller says. 

“[The new rate] is the one way we can collectively look at it – how you absorb it in your business is up to your business.” 

Submissions on the rates review close on Monday and can be made online at www.qldc.co.nz.

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