QLDC Responds to Productivity Commission’s Funding Report
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) remains on track to progress a local visitor levy with strong support from within Central Government. This position is not impacted by last week’s release of the Productivity Commission’s Local Government Funding Report.
Mayor Jim Boult agreed with Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) view that property rates remain an efficient funding mechanism, but that new sources of funding are needed in a rapidly changing context.
“Growth in Aotearoa New Zealand, and particularly in high-growth areas such as Auckland, Tauranga and Queenstown-Lakes, is occurring at a rate never seen before. Traditional methods of funding aren’t enough anymore to address the challenges that many councils are facing.”
“The Product Commission had the opportunity to open the door for much-needed innovation and has passed that opportunity by. It’s extremely disappointing to see local levies not being recommended as had been originally indicated. However, despite this we know we have strong support from Central Government to progress with our local visitor levy through a local Bill,” said Mayor Boult.
In September, Mayor Boult announced that the Government had considered the proposal for a local visitor levy and agreed to instruct officials to help the Council prepare and introduce a local Bill to parliament. The Bill is sponsored by local Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, who expects to introduce it parliament in 2020.
“We’ve made the case, we’ve proven the need and we’ve shown a way to address a key funding gap without tapping back into our ratepayers, and it’s very disappointing that the Commission can’t see that on a case by case basis special funding solutions can work,” said Mayor Boult.
The work on a local Bill is alongside a partnership with Government to develop a spatial plan and infrastructure investment plan to strategically prioritise and align investment across Government, the Council and the private sector focusing on developing strong communities with affordable housing, sound infrastructure, quality transport and a sustainable economic, social, and environmental future.