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Tourism Rate to be spread across all Tasman ratepayers

January 26th, 2012
[TDC press release]

The Tasman District Council is proposing to change the way it collects the current Targeted Tourism Rate, which would lead to a $20 rates increase to general ratepayers.

Introduced two years ago, the targeted rate was paid by those in Tasman who benefited directly through tourism to the Region, with the monies collected being provided to Nelson Tasman Tourism to fund destination marketing.

The proposed change to be included in the upcoming draft Long Term Plan consultation is that the tourism rate be reduced significantly and spread across all rateable properties in the District.

"Over the last two years the Targeted Rate has been managed by the Council, there has been considerable discussion about the annual return and the number of properties that have not been identified leading to accusations of inequity as well as the time the Council has had to invest in the management of the rate for the level of return. For these reasons the Council is proposing a district-wide charge," said Mayor Richard Kempthorne.

The proposed rate is $20 plus GST per rateable property.

The Draft Long Term Plan will be released for public consultation on 23 February, closing 30 March.


Comment by John Westall:
[Posted 29 January 2011]

Scrap the tourism rate altogether, it's only funding advertising for the Nelson area as a tourist destination, and as such is of no benefit to ratepayers generally, just another money grab by the TDC.

Comment/questions by Chris Salt:
[Posted 30 January 2011]

I am pleased to hear that the TDC is looking at tagging the general rate with the tourism levy. As Chair of the Tasman Bays Promotions Association I advocated doing just that when the levy was first mooted. I also warned that it was inequitable and would cost a lot of time and money to administer. As usual the TDC went their own way and defied commonsense.

But, this whole rates thing continues to gall me. Why does the cost of managing this region (any region) have to fall on property owners alone? Why do we continue to use this antiquated and unfair system? Why not a local GST that everyone then pays, whether local, visitor or tourist so the costs of looking after our region are met by everyone? It would spread costs far more widely.

It would be interesting to see what a local GST would be. Does anyone know how to work it out?

Comment by Philip Grimmett:
[Posted 1 February 2011]

Spread the load for business promotion over all ratepayers? What ever happened to user pays? It is a cross subsidy and should be referred to as such.

Comment by Ron Nuttall:
[Posted 1 February 2011]

Tourism is a business and like any business, if it cannot support itself then the owners should not be in that line of business. Why should the general ratepayer be expected to subsidise the tourist industry?

Will the ratepayer next be expected to support the local fish and chip business or Ray White Reality, maybe the council will grant The Warehouse ratepayer support? In fact the afore-mentioned sample businesses are a greater asset to the whole community than tourism.

To suggest that tourism advantages all the ratepayers of the district is rubbish. The council only suggests that tourism advantages the whole district because they find it easier to load the dumb ratepayer rather than rate those that gain from tourism.

Indeed the general rate already subsidies visitors in many ways. It is the ratepayer who pays for the toilets, signage, roads, car parks, refuse from the beaches and rest areas, and the many many other ratepayer paid services that include usage by the tourists.

Councils are far too ready at raising the general rate to support the whim of each and every request or demand from organizations that rather than stand on their own feet prefer to bleed the general ratepayer.

Comment by Mark Scales:
[Posted 4 February 2011]

Philip and Ron are quire right, it is a cross subsidy. I would love to have my business subsidized by Tasman ratepayers and I guess so would many others. However in the long term, cross-subsidization of one type of commercial sector by all the others will not achieve anything but perpetuate inequity. It is like the promised partial sale of our State Owned Assets and serves as just another example of the rich getting richer at the expense of us all.

Comment by Ann Mac:
[Posted 11 February 2011]

I'm a rate payer and want my rates to benefit me - not tourists. Surely this is just another form of revenue gathering and we the rate payer get stung yet again. All too often this region is referred to as Nelson, so benefits, if any, are not going to be significantly felt here by the majority of businesses. For rate payers who are lumbered yet again should visitor numbers swell, we will get more traffic, more congestion, longer queues at one of our supermarkets who are notoriously slow at serving us and greater numbers at the library using free internet.

C'mon TDC think of us - THE PEOPLE - who ultimately (I presume) pay your wages. We want to be able to continue living in paradise; don't chase us out by increasing our rates so you can allow a few more folk in, in the holiday season.

What works best? Lots of individual letters protesting this ridiculous notion, petitions, public meetings, I would welcome suggestions at how best to influence TDC to rethink this preposturous idea.

Comment by Trevor Norriss, TDC Engineering Chairman:
[Posted 28 February 2011]

Please remember this is a proposal in the councils draft 10yr plan. Please put in a submission as to whatever you think, on this or any other matter in the draft plan. The council then looks at submissions and decides what to add or delete to the plan; without submissions on this and other matters it is hard to know what the community is thinking, so please get involved in the process.

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