Hospitality New Zealand would like to acknowledge and congratulate the group of hotel owners who persisted to challenge the Auckland Council’s Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate funding for tourism, after a High Court decision made 12 months ago was overturned.
The Court of Appeal ruling that the APTR was invalid and should be overturned is great news, according to Hospitality NZ Chief Executive Julie White.
“This ruling comes at a vital time for an industry suffering greatly as a result of extended lockdowns in the city. This will put smiles on a lot of accommodation business owner’s faces that haven’t had a lot to smile about for 18 months,” she said
“It’s significant and not just for Auckland businesses. Accommodation providers and other industries across the country will also breathing a sigh of relief because this had the potential to be picked up by other councils.
“It’s now clear, as reflected in numerous submissions to Auckland Council and initial consultations Hospitality NZ members were extensively engaged in over the past five years, that the mechanism for raising funds for tourism in Auckland was not fair to the accommodation sector.”
White noted that there were very limited benefits for operators, and the court recognised that.
“Hospitality NZ has been working on this issue since it was first raised as a solution, so it comes as a great relief. It now turns the issue of funding for tourism back onto the Government,” White continued.
“Councils were forced to look at this targeted rate to fund tourism in their cities because the industry was so underfunded.
“Now the rates issue is off the table, central government will need to step up and look at how our once-biggest money earner can come back from COVID and rebuild with a fair funding mechanism both industry and the government are part of.
“It’s imperative the industry is involved in the design of the funding mechanism to bring back tourism back to pre-COVID levels and stronger.
“Operators continue to suffer greatly, with many still on their knees, and the recovery will be long. For some it will be three to five years before they get back to where they were before COVID, so we need solutions, and fast.”