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Goff welcomes High Court decision

Goff welcomes High Court decision to dismiss targeted rate judicial review

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he is pleased but not surprised that the Auckland High Court has dismissed an application for a judicial review of the Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate (APTR).

The APTR is charged to hotels, motels, serviced apartments and online accommodation providers that are rented for more than 28 nights per year on websites like AirBnB and Bookabach. The revenue raised is used to help fund the activities of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), the council agency tasked with growing Auckland’s visitor economy.

In May 2018, Auckland Council was served with legal proceedings challenging the decision by the council to establish the rate in 2017.

On Wednesday this week, a judgment to dismiss the application was delivered by High Court Justice, Simon Moore.

Phil Goff says, “Tourism has been booming. It is only fair that those benefitting from ratepayer funded tourism promotion pay a fair share rather than that cost falling entirely on ratepayers.

“The targeted rate is a common sense tool that ensures accommodation providers who directly benefit from tourism are contributing to the costs associated with promoting events and marketing Auckland to the world.

“When we introduced the targeted rate, we did so in a fair and transparent manner, following significant public consultation and good faith engagement with the accommodation industry. More than two thirds of Aucklanders who submitted on the rate supported it.

“I’m pleased that the Court has found that the decision to set the targeted rate was not unreasonable, that the Council was not in breach of the Local Government Act, and that it has ultimately dismissed the application for review.”

Among the coming events, in part funded by the rate, are the World Rally Championship, the Round the World Ocean Race stopover, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the annual Winter Festival and events such as the NZ Fashion Week. These will bring thousands of visitor bed nights to the city from which the industry benefits.

Finance and Planning Committee Chair Desley Simpson says, “I am really pleased with the decision from the Courts. It is a testament to the hard work of all our staff who have worked on this for a while. I am now looking forward to getting on with the Annual Plan and 10-year budget process.”

ENDS

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