COUNCIL’S AIRBNB TAX LABELLED A FAILURE

Earlier in the year, Auckland Council introduced an ‘Airbnb tax’ as part of Mayor Phil Goff’s ‘build-it Budget’. It aimed to charge higher rates to Airbnb hosts with paid guests staying over 29 days a year.

The move appears to be missing its intended targets though, with only 1100 properties in Auckland paying the new rate. According to the Auckland Council’s ‘Airbnb & Housing in Auckland’ report, there are 12,357 properties available on Airbnb in the city – the number growing every day.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) chief executive Chris Roberts said the exclusion of ‘room-only’ bookings in the Budget is misguided.

“Exempting the room-only providers excludes a significant proportion of the market, as it can be reasonably assumed that some of these room-only providers are generating significant annual income,” Roberts said.

“Our view is that to achieve fairness and spread the rate burden, room-only providers should also be included.”

The Budget also classified homes or apartments rented out for more than six months a year as full-fledged accommodation providers. Roberts agreed with the Council that operators who provide more than 135 nights accommodation a year should be charged the full business rate. He also believes that the Council’s inability to implement the ‘Airbnb tax’ is what’s holding it back.

“TIA certainly agrees with the Council that it is an ‘unfortunate’ shortcoming of the new rating policy that the Council cannot find everyone who should be paying it.”