Hobbiton hordes will not have to spend a penny to use public toilets in Matamata.
Mayor Hugh Vercoe used his casting vote to break the deadlock and retain the status quo - no charge for all users of the Hetana St toilets - at yesterday's Matamata-Piako District Council meeting.
The council has been looking at the issue for some time, particularly with an influx of visitors to the Hobbiton film set on the outskirts of Matamata.
Last May and June a counter machine showed about 9600 people a week used the toilets, peaking at 1600 a day on Fridays and Saturdays.
A poll of local businesses showed an even split in opinion for and against charging. The last council survey of users was in 2006, but a council staff report said current data needed to be sought if a detailed investigation is to be completed.
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