Controversial bed tax could be introduced to try and save events industry

Auckland's Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck says the return of the controversial bed tax could be a way to help support Aotearoa's under-pressure events and entertainment sector. 

The Events Association has warned that if we want music acts and sports competitions there has to be more investment, saying that without long-term funding and investment, New Zealand could wave goodbye to major events. 

There are already concerns after big pop acts like Taylor Swift and Coldplay announced gigs in 2024 for Australia, but had no plans to play in New Zealand. 

Speaking on AM on Monday, Beck said there were concerns as New Zealand Fashion Week 2024 is the last planned big event on next year's calendar. 

"The pipeline of major events is drying up," she told AM hosts Ryan Bridge and Melissa Chan-Green. 

"There's a few ideas being touted, and one of them is a bed tax on accommodation. 

"That would be ideally national, so that it would be a fair playing field but effectively then the tourists would be paying a little bit extra on their bed nights to fund us to help attract major events." 

The accommodation providers targeted rate initiative, which was brought in in 2017 and suspended when the borders closed during COVID-19 in 2020, aimed to boost the coffers of the council’s tourism unit, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited (ATEED). 

In May 2023, the tax initiative was part of a five-year court case, which ended with a Supreme Court decision ruling it was reasonable and complied with the legislation in the Local Government Act 2002, paving the way for its possible reintroduction. 

"Another one that has been going around for a long time is the idea of getting some GST back. If you think of all the spend from tourists around the country, that's a lot of GST. There are some ideas as these are critical times - we need a different funding mechanism." 

When asked if the bed tax would apply all year round by Bridge, Beck said it would only be during events.  

"I think there's different ways you can configure things, but the idea I've heard is it would be a fund on bed nights - it happens in other places, it doesn't happen here." 

"This might not suit everybody, but it's a user pays." 

However, Beck also warned action needed to be taken soon, as any changes would require legislation to be introduced. 

Watch the video above.