Levy might be fair but Auckland expensive enough as it is, say tourists
Tourists in Auckland say they wouldn't mind paying a visitor levy, but Auckland is expensive enough to visit without one.
Mayor Phil Goff on Monday announced plans to implement a visitor levy on accommodation, creating "significant new revenue" and supporting "underpaid and vulnerable Aucklanders."
The levy could raise up to $30 million a year - taking the burden off ratepayers funding marketing to attract Auckland visitors and supporting major events, Goff claims.
Tapping into our most profitable industry - tourism contributed $12.9 billion to our economy, as of March 2016 - might seem like a great idea to Goff, but what do tourists, in Auckland on Tuesday, really think about the tax?
Abdullah Al Dawish, visiting from Saudi Arabia.
Al Dawish arrived in Auckland from Saudi Arabia four days ago and is staying in a top hotel in the CBD.
He said New Zealand is cheaper than some European countries to visit.
If a levy were to be put in place he thinks he'd be less inclined to go home and tell his friends and family how "great Auckland was".
"The city is beautiful", he said, but a visitor levy might change his mind.
Jeremy Chaudier, visiting from France.
Chaudier arrived from France on Tuesday and said he would be splitting his time between hotels and backpackers.
He hasn't seen visitor levies before on his travels, and said that having one in place wouldn't discourage people travelling to Auckland.
He also said, however, that "staying in hotels gets too expensive long term as it is", even without a levy.
Moa Annenebran, visiting from Sweden.
Annenebran arrived in New Zealand from Sweden nine months ago.
She said introducing a visitor levy would be "fair enough", and that tourists and people visiting the country could give back to local economy.
But, she said Auckland is already an expensive city - and maybe a levy would put people off.
Matt Walker, visiting from Australia.
Walker was in Auckland on a fly-in-fly-out overnight visit from Australia, staying in a hotel in the CBD.
"I don't think [introducing a visitor levy] is a big issue at all," he said.
Dale Brown, visiting from Scotland.
Brown arrived in New Zealand in April, holidaying in South East Asia and Australia before coming here.
She didn't think any of the countries she'd visited had tourist levies, but couldn't be sure.
"I can see [Goff's] point," she said, "but you get charged so much more here for everything.
"It's way more expensive than home... and when you're travelling you don't have much money anyway so a tax really isn't that fair."