15 Oct 2013

Queenstown looks at tourist tax

6:45 am on 15 October 2013

Queenstown is to investigate a visitor levy to pay for a $50 million convention centre in the resort town.

Following the lead of Stewart Island, which has implemented a $5 a head levy, Queenstown Lakes District Council has sent a formal request to the Government to look at the idea. Legislation would be needed to enable the resort to tax tourists.

The letter, to Prime Minister John Key, also asks whether the Government would be willing to contribute cash to the centre, a request understood to be for $20 million.

Mayor Vanessa Van Uden has promised to do her best to ensure ratepayers don't have to pay for the convention centre and a levy.

The idea of a visitor levy has been discussed in Queenstown since the 1970s and Ms Van Uden says the days of local ratepayers funding national tourism infrastructure could be over.