Targeted Tourism Rate may be dropped

Targeted Tourism Rate may be dropped

The Strategy and Policy Committee of the Hurunui District Council have decided to recommend ending the District’s Targeted Tourism Rate for the forthcoming Long Term Plan. The recommendation will be considered at Council’s December 5th -7th Long Term Plan budget workshop.

The Committee reviewed a report presented by tourism consultant Ray Sleeman last Thursday. The report was commissioned as part of the Council’s Long Term Plan preparation. The Council had requested that a review be undertaken of the Targeted Tourism rate policy for the purpose of identifying possible anomalies and to make recommendations for a fair and equitable collection of the Targeted Tourism rate.

The Council currently collect approximately $275,000 through a targeted tourism rate. This is collected from 837 businesses in the Hurunui District, with approximately 87% based in Hanmer Springs.

Mr Sleeman’s report noted that while many who pay the rate seem to accept the need for it and recognise the benefits, there are a small minority who don’t want it or want a different structure. The report reviewed the targeted rate structures adopted in other Councils throughout New Zealand and concluded that the structure that the Hurunui District Council had was appropriate and as a result a number of recommendations for improvement were made on the assumption that the existing structure would be retained.

However, a number of councillors held concerns about the fairness and equity of the rate. The option of abolishing the rate was then discussed. Cr Jim Harre moved a motion that the committee recommend that a proposal to abolish the targeted tourism rate be included in the Draft Long Term Plan.

After reviewing the report the Committee recommended that of the five options, option two of abolishing the tourism rate should be progressed into the Draft Long Term Plan.

The resolution was passed by five votes to three and the proposal will now be considered by the Council in December for inclusion into its Draft Long Term Plan. If the proposal proceeds, members of the public will have the opportunity to give the Council their views about it. The consultation process begins in March next year with public meetings, followed by hearings and deliberations on submissions in May 2012. The Long Term Plan will then be adopted by the Council at the end of June 2012.

For further information contact:

Mayor Winton Dalley
Phone 03 314-0011 or 029 770 2866