Clubs say pan tax is over the top

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014
pan
ROBERT CHARLES/FAIRFAX NZ

NPOB rugby and sports club treasurer Dion Herlihy says it's not fair sports clubs pay heavy taxes on toilets that aren't frequently used.

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Sports clubs say New Plymouth's toilet tax is crippling them.

Some clubs are paying as much as $5000 a year in "pan tax", a charge levied on a per bowl basis for toilets at clubrooms.

The issue was raised by Old Boys Rugby and Sports Club spokesman Dion Herlihy during district council annual plan submissions this week, backed up by five other clubs.

Herlihy said the cost was unfair, excessive and needed to be reviewed by council.

Charging per bowl was harsh because sports clubs needed a large number of toilets for a short period of time for convenience, he said.

"We don't use the clubrooms very often during the year, relative to someone using a house.

"They're using their toilets all the time, we're using ours on a Thursday night after training and a Saturday during game time," he said.

Many sports clubs were struggling financially, partially because bar turnover had traditionally been a main source of revenue and this had reduced significantly in the last few years, he said.

This meant looking at other ways of earning money to continue running the club, including fundraising events and hiring out the clubrooms.

"It's not sustainable, we can't keep shoulder-tapping our sponsors and the general public to come up with those funds every single year.

"A lot of our fundraising money goes towards paying $5000 worth of pan tax."

Other members of the public with different interests had access to free toilet facilities, such as runners and walkers on the walkway and users of the library, he said.

"We provide a public service to the community, but it's becoming more and more of a struggle to operate a sports club."

Inglewood Combined Sports Club spokesman Nigel Austin said a pan tax from sports clubs was double dipping.

"I pay my pan tax here for my house then I've got to pay it again when we go to the park."

Austin said clubs were there to administer sport and keep kids off the street.

"We're not a tax-gathering body for the council."

Austin said the club needed to keep fees as low as possible to keep people involved in the sport, and the council could help by keeping costs down.

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