Airbnb hosts hope to ‘work out a good solution’

Airbnb hosts in Queenstown are gearing up to take on the Queenstown Lakes District Council over proposals to tighten short-stay visitor accommodation rules.

Patrick Dodson was one of 60-plus landlords who attended a meeting last week to discuss policy implications.

The group hopes individual submissions to the council will open debate and clear up ‘‘confusion’’ around the restrictions.

If the proposal goes ahead, short-term lets would drop to 28 days a year. The current limit is 90.

The proposals, announced last month by Queenstown’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce, were pitched as one solution to the resort’s housing shortage.

But Mr Dodson says it is an attack on ordinary New Zealanders and will kill Kiwi crib culture.

He also criticised the task force for not talking to Airbnb hosts.

"There was a task force that operated for a year. But as far as I know, no-one in the host community even got approached.

"The consultation was more about data trawling rather than getting real stories from their [residents]. 

"If we have the opportunity in the submission process to come back to the table and say ‘here is the nuance, here is the complexity, [this is] how to deal with concerns’.

"It makes me nervous that council has generalised the problem and the nuance. There is a real willingness to share stories and work out a good solution in the long term."

Head of public policy at Airbnb ANZ Brent Thomas has not been shy in his assessment of the proposals, describing them as "extreme and poorly thought through".

He criticised a lack of council engagement and said no-one turned up to the meeting despite getting an invitation.

QLDC communications and engagement manager Naell Crosby-Roe said while  the council was given the "heads-up" about a meeting, no firm dates were shared and no official invitation was extended. If passed, the new rules would not affect anyone now registered with the council for visitor accommodation and would not be implemented until after a full public consultation and a hearing by an independent commissioner.

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