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WAITOMO mayor Brian Hanna has spoken out on a national
stage about a potential tourist tax to be charged at New Zealand
Mr Hanna is the rural sector representative – on behalf of 26
rural authorities – on the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)
While in Auckland at the LGNZ’s annual conference this week,
he appeared on Newshub’s The AM Show on Tuesday in favour of the
tax. The interview was prompted by a Newshub poll which found
the majority of voters supported a $50 tourism tax.
In speaking with the Waitomo News, Mr Hanna says a tourist tax
is something that’s been on LGNZ’s agenda for a while, but says the
current government is not in favour of the tax, fearing it will turn
people off choosing New Zealand as a destination.
“It’s the principal that those that use the facilities should help fund
them. At the moment people that come in are not actually paying
for the infrastructure.”
Mr Hanna believes a $20-$30 tax would suffice.
“People aren’t going to be put off by that. Surely it’s better to give
them a great experience and, when they want to use a toilet, there’s
one there to be used.”
He wants rural councils to have the money to be able to partner
with the Department of Conservation for projects.
And says there are some “pressure points” in the Waitomo region.
These include the Mangaokewa Reserve, Mangapohue Natural
Bridge and Marokopa Falls where there are an inadequate amount
or no toilets at all.
He says the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure falls
on ratepayers, which isn’t fair in rural areas when there aren’t many
residents. And cites the example of the Waitomo Caves, where there
are about 200 residents, but more than 550,000 people visit the
attraction each year. About 700,000, in total, visit the wider area.
Mr Hanna says tourism industry predictions are that visitor
numbers will rise significantly in the coming years.
THE Mangapohue Natural Bridge is one local attraction which
could benefit from a tourist tax. FILE PIC
Hanna leads LGNZ
tourist tax talks
By Yvette Batten
WHEN the Te Kuiti Camping Ground closes on August
31, 19 permanent residents will be without accommodation.
And it comes at a time when there is a shortage of local
Ninety-three of Housing New Zealand’s 94 properties in
the Waitomo district are tenanted. The one vacant property
will soon be occupied.
In June, the Waitomo District Council, which owns the
Hinerangi St camp ground and leases its management to
Tokowha (John) Te Huia, announced it was closing the
grounds next month as it is not up to a suitable standard for
tourists. (Waitomo News, June 29)
“Council is of course, sympathetic to the position Mr Te
Huia’s tenants find themselves in,” says community services
group manager Helen Beever.
“We are aware that the camp ground business owner has
entered into arrangements with people who are currently
living at the site as his tenants.
“Although council notes providing social housing is a cen-
tral government responsibility, we do our best to advocate for
appropriate accommodation options for the district.”
Mrs Beever’s comments are echoed by mayor Brian Hanna,
who says he’s meeting with both Housing New Zealand and
the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board this week to try and find
“Social housing is an issue that is not really under our
[council] responsibility,” he says.
“All I can say is I’m meeting with other agencies to try and
come up with some solutions.
MOTHER of two Tracey Jones has lived at the Te Kuiti Camping Ground since February 2016 and has no accommodation
after the facility closes.
can’t find homes
to page 3
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