Hospitality industry awaits results on accommodation tax

With the deadline for submissions now closed, one local business is hoping that the proposed ‘accommodation tax’ that Auckland Council are wanting to impose through the Annual Budget plan will not go through.

Neil and Dilys Harvey, owners of Touchwood Motorlodge in Pukekohe, made their submission over the weekend against the tax, after they realised just how it would impact them.

Council currently spends $27.8 million on visitor attraction and major events, which is funded by general rates from Auckland ratepayers. At present, all ratepayers contribute around two per cent of their rates to fund this expenditure.

The targeted rate, which is based on the capital value (CV) of the building, has been proposed by Auckland Council to help fund new infrastructure investments, including transport infrastructure projects, and promotional funding for ATEED.

“We have worked out that it would cost us an extra $30,000 per year on top of what we already pay, when really, what does ATEED do for us? We really do not benefit from their spending, which is targeted for central Auckland, not outskirt townships like Franklin,” says Neil.
“We totally agree that someone has to pay, but why not target the whole tourist sector?”

Neil also didn’t agree with the fact that only certain accommodation providers were being targeted.

“It just seems like it has been rushed through without much thought going into it. You have the likes of AirBnB who haven’t been included in the proposed tax, yet they are a nationwide accommodation provider.”
Franklin Local Board member Niko Kloeten, who met with Neil and Dilys last week, says the proposal places an unfair burden on a relatively small portion of the tourism sector.
“According to Hospitality New Zealand, only ten percent of the Auckland visitor spend goes to accommodation providers. The rest goes to bars and restaurants, transport services, tourism operators and even local shops in the areas where tourists visit. Many people in the Auckland region get some benefit from tourism, so we should spread the costs widely rather than loading them all onto one group of businesses.
“Boosting tourism is a priority for the Franklin Local Board. Increasing the cost of accommodation in our area could make it harder to attract visitors here, especially when there are attractive tourist destinations nearby.”
It has been said that there will be a vote on the Annual Budget Plan in July this year.

Colin and Dilys Harvey, owners of Touchwood Motorlodge, met with Local Board Member, Niko Kloeten last week to discuss the proposed ‘accommodation tax’ that Auckland Council are wanting to impose.