5 Jun 2019

Queenstown visitor levy referendum closing

11:31 am on 5 June 2019

More than a third of eligible residents have cast their vote on a proposed visitor levy for Queenstown.

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Photo: capix_arshad/ 123rf

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is holding a referendum to test community support for a visitor tax.

Votes could be delivered to the council's Queenstown and Wanaka offices before 12pm today.

Already more than 35 percent of ratepayers and residents have given their vote, with the council saying there had been a high number of special votes cast on Wednesday morning.

If approved, visitors would pay a 5 percent charge applied to the cost of all short-term accommodation.

It is expected to raise up to $40 million a year to help fund infrastructure in the resort town.

The levy needs to be supported and signed off by the government before it can be implemented.

Speaking at TRENZ, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said he would wait until the referendum results before making any commitments to a proposed visitor tax.

But he confirmed visitor levies would not be rolled out in other areas even if one was given the green light by the government for Queenstown.

Results for the non-binding referendum are expected to be announced within the next week.

If passed, it will be the second region to implement a regional visitor tax - Stewart Island has had one since 2013.

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