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Waiheke holiday home owners rally against new rates hike

Holiday home owners are pushing back against what they call 'unfair' rate rises on properties they rent out on sites like AirBNB.

About 150 members of the Waiheke Island community met this week to rally against Auckland Council's targeted accommodation rate.

Some holiday home owners say their rates bills have been so high they are considering getting out of the business.

"In some cases the rates bill is 300 per cent higher, it's gone from $6000 to $16000, there are some higher than that," Ed Coutts said.

Parts of Auckland like Franklin and Rodney will have exemptions from the rate, and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has taken a petition to parliement calling for Waiheke to also receive one.

She says the rate could lead to a "potential accommodation shortage for Auckland and Waiheke ... that's very bad."

But Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says Waiheke needs to pay its dues.

"Waiheke is a tourist paradise - tourism benefits it," he said.

"It wouldn't be right to exempt Waiheke."

Mr Goff says the rate is perfectly legal and that if people have an issue with their rates bill being incorrect they should bring it to the council.

"We have to pay to market our city to the world - that cost should be borne by the visitor or those providing accommodation to them, rather than the general taxpayer," he said.

The rate on those who rent out their properties online on sites like AirBNB is kicking in, leading some to question if it's still worth it. Source: 1 NEWS