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Tourism taxes lead to local job losses

Tourism taxes lead to local job losses and economic decline

Councils calling for powers to tax tourism in their local areas are putting short-term political interests ahead of local prosperity, economic development and jobs for local people, said Tourism Industry Association New Zealand Chief Executive John Moriarty.

Mr Moriarty said that tourism taxes would impose further compliance costs on tourism businesses and would lead to job reductions, and some businesses becoming unviable. In all cases taxes would need to be passed on to the visitor, and will reduce the demand for tourism services in regional areas.

“Tourism is the life-blood of many communities and employs local people We are concerned that councils want to tax an industry that provides over 10% of all jobs in New Zealand simply to raise revenue to pay for years of under-investment in their infrastructural assets.

“Councils should be thinking about how they can promote local tourism, and not ways of taxing it out of existence,” he said.

Mr Moriarty implored councils to put aside short-term thinking and to work with the tourism industry to develop balanced policies that enable communities to continue to enjoy the benefits of tourism while managing the demands created by tourism.

“Economic decline is not an option for local areas. Councils should get behind their local tourism operators and the wealth creators in their communities. I also encourage them to talk to tourism business operators and negotiate solutions to pay for much needed facilities. This is more effective than councils lobbying for new powers to force further taxes on businesses without negotiation.”

He also urged local government to join with the Tourism Industry Association and lobby central government to help fund local infrastructure to improve our icon tourism destinations.


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