‘At the heart of what’s wrong with the proposal is that legally targeted rates should show a clear connection between those who pay the rate and those who receive the benefits from the services to be funded,’ says Barnett.
'Irrefutable evidence confirms that Auckland’s accommodation sector across the board receives less than 10% of tourism revenue benefits yet are being required to pay 100% of the cost. That alone makes it unfair, flawed and potentially illegal.’
Barnett says if the proposal is reduced further to target just the larger hotels, the unfairness will be compounded.
‘Not only will more than 90% of Auckland’s tourism sector be exempt but the property owners of buildings from which hotels are operated would be loaded with a significant rate increase on top of their business rates, which already have an unacceptably high differential,’ he explains.
Targeting a small group of Auckland businesses with a massive rates rise, simply on the basis of ‘they can afford it’ cannot be justified and is legally challengeable, Barnett says.
‘Inevitably hotels would be pushed into cost savings, including staffing, refurbishment and in other areas,’ he says.
‘At the same time tourism industry people, not just in the accommodation sector, are very clear in the considerable messaging the Chamber has received on this matter.’
‘They would welcome participating with council and industry representatives in a visitor promotion funding review where all beneficiaries of tourism have their voice heard,’ says Barnett.