Airbnb would not be caught by Auckland mayor Phil Goff's hotel levy proposal but it says it is open to paying bed taxes here if required, collecting similar tourist charges in Europe and the United States.

Sam McDonagh, New Zealand country manager, said Airbnb would willingly co-operate with authorities if a bed tax was applied to the business here.

His comments follow opposition to the scheme from major hotels and visitor sector group Tourism Industry Aotearoa which blasted Goff's hotel levy plan as "appalling." The organisation's head, Chris Roberts, said some commercial accommodation operators would be "whacked" with rates increases of 250 per cent or more.

Auckland's Pullman Hotel has said its annual rates bill could double to almost $1.6m if Auckland Council adopts the new targeted rate.


TIA, Hospitality New Zealand and other stakeholders are making strong submissions to Auckland Council against the levy scheme.

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Hotels go into battle with Auckland's mayor Phil Goff over new rate to pay for promoting the city

But Airbnb, with more than 16,000 New Zealand listings, says it is open to collecting a bed tax if that is required.

"Airbnb currently collects and remits tourist taxes in a number of major cities," McDonagh said, citing Paris, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Oakland, Florida, San Diego, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix, Rhode Island, Palo Alto and North Carolina.

In all those places, Airbnb "currently collects and remits tourist taxes".

So McDonagh said such a tax was nothing new internationally.

"We're regularly working with other countries on similar initiatives around the world. We've got a great relationship with Auckland Council and will work with them throughout their process of decision making. If they decide to go down that path, we'll assist in finding the best solution for Auckland and its residents," McDonagh said.

"We believe all organisations should contribute to the areas in which they operate and we're proud of the economic benefits Airbnb currently provides to families, communities and local businesses that otherwise wouldn't benefit from the tourist dollar," McDonagh said.

"The Airbnb community is contributing to a new economy. We're hoping to grow and diversify tourism here in Auckland and all over the world, providing an economic boost to communities and local businesses that wouldn't otherwise benefit from the tourist dollar," McDonagh said.

But Michael Barnett, Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said the tax proposal was "a knee-jerk, easy response that will not deliver positive benefits to the city."

Roberts of TIA said Goff was proposing a targeted rate to be paid by around 300 owners of buildings providing commercial accommodation in Auckland.

That is separate from the national bed levy suggested by some industry leaders in December, he emphasised.

In December, four tourism leaders called on the Government to introduce the bed tax and a $5 increase in the border levy to fund facilities and infrastructure growth. The leaders want a $130 million annual fund - half funded by the Government - to meet infrastructure problems exacerbated by surging tourist numbers, particularly for smaller regional centres. The bed tax might also target Airbnb and campervans.

The bed tax report has work commissioned by the chief executives of Air New Zealand, Auckland International Airport, Christchurch Airport and Tourism Holdings.