Levy a boon for Stewart Island - MP

The $5 levy to visit Stewart Island will come into effect in 12 days, after 35 years of planning.

The Stewart Island/Rakiura Visitor Levy Bylaw 2012 comes into effect on October 1. Visitors will then have to pay the levy, which will go into the community.

Southland District Council staff yesterday said the design for signs at Golden Bay and Halfmoon Bay had been completed.

The signs would thank visitors for payment, focusing on the positive impacts of payment rather than infringements and enforcement.

Also finalised were brochure designs and a photo identification card for those exempt from the levy.

The levy would be collected in one of two ways. Visitors travelling with Cruise New Zealand, Stewart Island Flights, or the Stewart Island Experience ferry would have the levy included in their ticket price.

Anyone travelling to the island independently would need to visit the collection box at the Southland District Council office in Oban, on Stewart Island.

Those caught without paying the levy could face a $250 infringement fee.

Council chief executive David Adamson, speaking at a council meeting yesterday, said there was a lot of work ahead to ensure exempt individuals received identification cards.

"It's been a 35-year project that has finally come to fruition, which is quite amazing," he said.

Invercargill MP Eric Roy, who brought the enacting legislation to Parliament, said yesterday he was pleased the project was finally going to be up and running. "It's going to make a huge difference to that community." 

The Southland Times