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Cabinet has given it the tick – now we have to hammer out the detail.

Yesterday Queenstown council’s proposed local visitor levy took a giant step forward, with news government ministers have approved officials to work with the council to develop a local Bill.

It will be introduced to Parliament by Queenstown’s MP Hamish Walker.

Mayor Jim Boult hopes that’ll happen in the first half of next year – and will be enacted before next October’s general election.

Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford, who’s speaking at a Queenstown Chamber of Commerce (QCC) lunch in the resort tomorrow, say it’s now up to the council to consider its options to move forward.

The final decision will depend on what’s proposed.

Boult’s already on the record mooting a five per cent levy on all short-term accommodation in the district.

A non-binding referendum in June had a 42 per cent turn out, and just over 81 per cent of voters were in favour.

Boult says it’s taken “sweat and blood” to get the levy – commonly dubbed a bed tax – this far.

Given the support to date of government, he’s “confident” it’ll become a reality.

QCC boss Anna Mickell’s happy the details of the proposal will be hashed out locally to make sure it’s landed “as equitably as possible across the accommodation sector, and as smartly as possible”.

Mayoral hopeful Nik Kiddle, who’s been vocal about his opposition to the proposal as it stands, still thinks a broader-based option, where all tourism beneficiaries in the district contribute, would pick up the “full amount the community is looking to recover from visitors”.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz