Provisional results for the proposed visitor levy referendum have arrived.
The votes were largely in favour, with 81.37 percent of votes supporting the levy.
The results are provisional, and a final count will not be confirmed until 10 June.
Mayor Jim Boult was impressed with the turnout, and with the outcome.
“I am delighted that our community was motivated to vote on this issue. I would like to personally thank everyone who has taken the time to engage with and participate in the process," said Boult.
“Our people have given this Council a clear mandate to engage with Central Government on the next steps. The support shown for the proposed visitor levy says this is something that locals recognise is desperately needed."
On top of the clear-cut result, the referendum also had an impressive 41.45 percent voter return – much higher than the expected 30 percent return for non-binding referenda.
Mayor Boult had pursued the levy since coming to office in 2016.
The proposal’s aim is to request a legislative change to enable a 5 percent levy on all short-term accommodation in the district.
“I think we all came to the collective conclusion that having exhausted all our options this was where the opportunity lay. The stakes are high for Queenstown Lakes, for ratepayers and for the massive contribution our district makes to the national economy through tourism. I am absolutely delighted with the outcome.”
The referendum was non-binding, and Mayor Boult will present the final result to government.