'I do know that many parties are taking legal advice' - tourism industry anxious over Auckland Council's 'bed tax'

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The tourism industry is looking on "anxiously", following Auckland Council's decision to introduce a new targeted accommodation rate.

The vote was seen a test for new mayor Phil Goff, despite the opposition of the tourism sector.
Source: 1 NEWS

The so-called "bed-tax" was given the green light yesterday after a narrow 11-8 vote.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts says he can't predict whether there will be a legal challenge.

One owner says the targeted rate is unfairly being placed on a small group of society.
Source: 1 NEWS

"I do know that many parties are taking legal advice, there is a lot of concern about the process that's been followed, whether it's legal for various reasons. So I think all of that will explored over the coming weeks."

He admitted bed taxes are "quite common" overseas.

"The problem here is this is not a bed tax, it absolutely is not a bed tax. It's a targeted rate on the owner of the building and that's the big problem with it.

"It causes so many complications. New Zealand's never had a national bed tax, it constantly gets talked about, it's something that would need to be planned properly."

1 NEWS has spoken to several councils today about whether they would be in favour of implementing some kind of visitor levy.

Many were supportive of the idea, but preferred it to be government-mandated.

But Tourism Minister Paul Bennett said there are a number of practicalities that would have to be considered first.

"It's how you would do it, whom you would charge to," she said.

"[Are you going to] charge New Zealanders? Most people say 'no', so what is it - only people with a New Zealand passport then that are let off?"

Roberts said he was aware of other councils "looking at opportunities to raise new money.

"We're not opposed to council's raising money, but it has to be fair".

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