Outlet Podcast: Mayor on the mic

2 minutes read
Posted 24 June, 2024
Screenshot 2024 06 24 101902

Queenstown's mayor Glyn Lewers

Queenstown's mayor Glyn Lewers believes "the door is still open" for a local visitor levy but it's up to councils to convince central government.

Lewers met with Finance Minister Nicola Willis earlier this month, when she was in town to address Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce. On the Outlet Podcast this week, he's asked whether the Minister gave any indication she supports a local visitor levy and would work to convince Coalition partners.

"Look when we talk about local visitor levies, and I'm in front of ministers, it's usually me doing all the talking," he says. "I think it's probably incumbent on us to convince the Coalition partners. It's the Coalition Government's position of not introducing it but in my discussions with all ministers, I do feel the door is still open and they're open to the discussion."

QLDC has made a submission on Government plans to increase the national International Visitor and Conservation Levy, which is collected at the border. It could go from $35 to potentially $100. But Lewers says QLDC has "seen no benefit from it" since it was introduced in 2019 and labels it "a little bit opaque and not that transparent or accountable." QLDC doesn't want the increase seen as an alternative to a local visitor levy, which could fund infrastructure projects.

He also discusses other funding mechanisms, concerns over the Fast Track Bill, the housing crisis and Airbnb consents, and, on a more positive note, the inspiring work of volunteer and community groups.



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