Court upholds Council decision on accommodation rates

Court upholds Council decision on accommodation rates

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The decision of the Auckland High Court to dismiss an application of Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate (APTR) has not surprised Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

Nonetheless, he is pleased with the decision.

APTR is charged to hotels, motels, serviced apartments and online accommodation providers that are rented for more than 28 nights per year on websites like AirBnB and Bookabach.

The revenue raised is used to help fund the activities of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), the council agency tasked with growing Auckland’s visitor economy.

In May 2018, Auckland Council was served with legal proceedings challenging the decision by the Council to establish the rate in 2017.

High Court Justice Simon Moore delivered the judgement on Wednesday. February 5, 2020.

Common sense tool

Mr Goff said that tourism has been booming and that it was fair that those benefitting from ratepayer-funded tourism promotion pay a fair share rather than that cost falling entirely on ratepayers.

“The targeted rate is a commonsense tool that ensures accommodation providers who directly benefit from tourism are contributing to the costs associated with promoting events and marketing Auckland to the world. When we introduced the targeted rate, we did so in a fair and transparent manner, following significant public consultation and good faith engagement with the accommodation industry. More than two thirds of Aucklanders who submitted on the rate supported it,” he said.

Mr Goff said that he was pleased that the Court has found that the decision to set the targeted rate was not unreasonable, that the Council was not in breach of the Local Government Act, and that it has ultimately dismissed the application for review.

Ensuing events

Among the coming events, in part funded by the rate, are the World Rally Championship, the Round the World Ocean Race stopover, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the annual Winter Festival and events such as the NZ Fashion Week. These will bring thousands of visitor bed nights to the city from which the industry benefits.

Finance and Planning Committee Chair Desley Simpson said, “I am really pleased with the decision from the Courts. It is a testament to the hard work of all our staff who have worked on this for a while. I am now looking forward to getting on with the Annual Plan and 10-year budget process.”

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff (INL Photo)

Photo Caption: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff

 

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