7 Jun 2019

Queenstown Lakes District residents vote in favour of a bed tax

12:39 pm on 7 June 2019

Queenstown Lakes District residents have voted in favour of a bed tax in a non-binding referendum.

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Queenstown Lakes District resident have voted in favour of a bed tax. Photo: capix_arshad/ 123rf

More than 80 percent of voters supported a visitor levy to help fund infrastructure in the resort town.

If the plan is carried through, visitors would pay a 5 percent charge applied to the cost of all short-term accommodation, estimated to raise up to $40 million a year.

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

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult was delighted with the provisional outcome of the vote and said the results were unlikely to change significantly.

Mr Boult said the stakes were high for ratepayers who had foot the bill for infrastructure under pressure from visitors.

He said the result gave a definitive message to central government that a bed tax was wanted by the community.

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

If carried through, Queenstown Lakes District would be the second region to implement a regional visitor tax. Stewart Island has had one since 2013.