The Wanaka Sun has received many letters from accommodation providers who are upset, among other things, at the lack of consultation they have received in regards to the formulation of the proposed visitor levy. For a momentous policy decision like this, accommodation providers believe they should have had more say in the decision and been able to give their feedback.
However Queenstown Lakes District Council insist that the sector was engaged and that they had the mandate to move forward. Council has stated that they consulted with “representatives from the Youth Hostel Association, backpacker operators, local operators of hotels and apartments, accommodation support services, regional tourism operators, tourism activity operators, chamber of commerce and were conducted over February and March, with further ongoing dialogue with a number of these representatives.”
“In developing the proposed model the Council has engaged with central government officials, independent tax experts and a wide range of stakeholders from the accommodation sector and tourism industry. However we have sought to ensure a wide range of perspectives were considered throughout, and some of those discussions have been of a commercially sensitive nature and therefore conducted confidentially. We believe it is important to ensure participants in such discussions can have free and frank conversations in good faith.
QLDC went on to say, they believe “short-term accommodation is the one that is most clearly defined (in the GST Act) and has the least effect on local ratepayers.”
Voting on the referendum closes June 5 at midday.