14 Dec 2017

Exemptions to visitor rate strip $1.9m from expected take

8:39 am on 14 December 2017

Exemptions from Auckland Council's contentious new rate on visitor accommodation are ramping up and have stripped $1.9 million from the expected first year's take.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff speaks at the meeting. Council voted for a half-way option, a partial closure of the Waitakere Ranges.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

More than half of the 2,999 affected properties have sought exemptions, half of those have been processed - all but one has succeeded.

Mayor Phil Goff introduced the rate to raise an estimated $13.6 million, to pay half of the costs of tourism promotion.

One group of accommodation providers is still considering a legal challenge.

Smaller, often single-unit properties made up the early applications, but Auckland Council said some larger ones were now being processed.

The rate of properties processed each month has slowed, and the average value of exemptions and remissions in two categories, has doubled.

In the next stage of the revenue-raising plan, the council will seek public views next year on imposing considerably higher rates on private homes rented significantly on accommodation websites.

An average-valued $1.08 million city home could pay $6161 more, in two layers of new rates under that plan, if rented out for more than 20 weeks a year.

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