Proposed tourism rate "bureaucratic ridiculousness"

The possible introduction of a "tourism rate" in the Waitaki district would cause distress, Cr Peter Garvan told a Waitaki District Council meeting on Tuesday.

Financial services manager Paul Hope presented a report on a potential rate to fund part of the tourism promotion activity and its potential impact on affected ratepayers.

It had been suggested at times the council should explore ways of funding part or all of its spending on tourism activities through a direct charge on those seen to benefit more directly from it.

The Waitaki Development Board and third party groups had been asked to work on the issue but little progress had been made, so it had been suggested the council review the approaches taken by other councils and see what might be appropriate, Mr Hope said.

Cr Garvan said he was "totally against it" as differential rates created anomaly and distrust, while Cr Helen Stead described it as "bureaucratic ridiculousness".

Cr Rod Bidois said he always believed businesses that directly benefited should pay towards servicing of their industry.

It would reduce the impact on ratepayers who did not gain directly from those activities.

The council also discussed expanding the Oamaru business area rate in both directions along State Highway 1 from the southern to northern town boundaries.

The expanded area would mean all supermarkets, motels and most retail outlets would be rated on the same basis.

It would exclude any residential and non-rateable properties, Mr Hope said.

While the impact on those properties would be "reasonably significant", it would put them "pretty much on an equal basis" with those in the Oamaru business area at the moment."


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