Ever since Guide Sophia took tourists across Lake Tarawera to see the Pink & White
terraces in the late 1880s tourism has been the lifeblood of our city.
Millions of people flood into Rotorua every year, bringing direct benefits to businesses along with jobs for locals and flow-on effects to local tradies and support industry who keep tourism-related businesses ticking.
The Productivity Commission's draft report on local government funding released this week has recommended that the government give local councils the ability to charge an accommodation levy to commercial suppliers, otherwise known as a bed tax.
While on paper this sounds good, let the tourists pay their fair share! In reality, an accommodation levy on commercial suppliers would miss the majority of tourists due to how they stay in Rotorua.
According to Tourism Industry Aotearoa, across New Zealand only 30 of 100 visitors stay in commercial accommodation, seven out of 100 in Airbnb or holiday rentals, with more than 1000 Airbnb listings in Rotorua alone this is bound to be higher here, and others stay for free with whanau.
Before council considers introducing an accommodation levy for commercial accommodation suppliers they must ensure it is the most fair way of gaining revenue from tourists visiting Rotorua.
Particularly when Airbnb and holiday rentals essentially already receive 100 days of business rates free each year when commercial accommodation suppliers don't.
Fairness and a freer market will encourage investment and jobs for locals in Rotorua, not unfair taxes and regulation.
This does make me laugh! Supermarkets have banned single-use plastic bags - so, at the vegetable stalls they offer -and we use - unlimited plastic bags off the roll to put our cabbages and carrots, etc. in.
Cucumbers come with their own little wrappers - plastic of course. All the meat is plastic wrapped including the bacon, sausages, chicken. The cheese is plastic-wrapped, so are all the deli meats and cheeses. Crisps, biscuits, bags of coffee, sweets, tea bags, etc. In fact, when it is delivered to the supermarket everything is plastic wrapped.
We did not wrap anything back in the '50s and '60s maybe even in the '70s so how the heck did we get them home?
Well, as a child I can remember being given a wicker basket to go to the shops, everything was dumped in the basket by the salespeople in the grocers and, as I recall, all were washed before cooking! It worked.
Maybe we should do away with the pretence and stop plastic altogether, there is no earthly sense in doing the part-time thing we now do! It is really stupid.
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