Tourism industry doesn't want Goff's visitor levy
The hospitality industry is sceptical of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's plan to tax the city's visitors to pay for the city's growth.
Mr Goff on Monday proposed a visitor levy to help spread the financial burden of the city's infrastructure. It would be collected at hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast operators.
"Accommodation providers and other businesses benefit most directly from the funding council puts into attracting visitors to the city and supporting major events," Mr Goff said.
But Rachael Shadbolt from Hospitality New Zealand told Newshub no one from the council has talked to the businesses that would be affected.
"I am not averse to having a national discussion about how we manage tourists coming into the country and how our infrastructure is paid for. I just don't think it's through a targeted rate."
Ms Shadbolt says New Zealand is already quite an expensive destination, and adding costs to that could backfire.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says it wouldn't be fair to target accommodation providers, because they aren't the only ones benefitting from Auckland's booming tourism.
"Tourism spending in Auckland alone has gone up $1.5 billion in the last two years. That's extra money that is going right through the Auckland economy, spent by visitors to the city."
Prime Minister John Key is open to the idea, but only if it's applied to the rest of the country too.
"If you're going to do something… I think we want to do it nationally," he told reporters on Monday afternoon. "We don't want to do it locally in Auckland."
The levy aims to raise around $30 million a year, which would otherwise have to come from rates. Mr Goff's promised to keep the average rate rise at no more than 2.5 percent.