Council to test water on visitor levy plan
Would you support this visitor levy?
The council is testing the waters to investigate the potential for a visitor levy as an option for funding a $50 million Queenstown convention centre.
Last month, the Queenstown Lakes District Council agreed to lead the development for a centre at the proposed Lakeview site, subject to conditions including confirmation of Government funding, approval of a council contribution and a masterplan.
Mayor Vanessa van Uden yesterday said the council was drafting a letter to Prime Minister John Key to investigate whether a levy was an option for funding the proposed centre.
She was at pains to stress that the council was proceeding with its commitment following last month's meeting to explore all options for funding.
"It's one of the options that's being looked at for a convention centre.
"All that we are saying is there's a fairly mixed response to the funding options.
"It's incumbent on us as part of the recommended agreement from council that we support it subject to funding from Government and development of the different funding options."
She said the Government intimated that central funding for a convention centre was a possibility and the next step was investigating available sources.
Stewart Island, where a $5 per person visitor levy was introduced this month, had limited points of entry, but Queenstown had multiple entry points, she said.
A tourist tax at Queenstown Airport was not possible because any airport levy must be used to fund development at the Frankton aerodrome.
She said she preferred to wait until speaking to the Prime Minister before saying more.
Implementing a visitor levy for the district is a perennial debate and was first mooted decades ago.
About two million visitors a year head to Queenstown, compared with about 40,000 people a year visiting Stewart Island where conservative estimates suggest the new levy will generate $150,000 to $175,000 a year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.