A tourist levy

Stuff reports:

The Opposition is throwing its support behind two Government policies but want a tourist levy introduced to pay for them.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw announced on Thursday a “taonga levy” to be paid by all international tourists to help fund a predator-free New Zealand by 2050 and to boost the Regional Tourism Facilities Fund.

The levy will be a $14-to-$18 addition and once combined with the existing border clearance levies, will bring total levies paid by international visitors to approximately $40.

The Green policy is half good and half stupid.

There may be a case for a tourist levy to cover the external costs of tourists being in NZ, so it is a sort of user pays levy. But balanced against that is tourists contribute through GST on their spending and also increased take on companies and employees in the tourist industries.

So a tourist levy to fund regional tourism facilities may be a good idea. But it may also discourage some tourists and lead to an overall smaller tax take also.

The tourist levy to fund the predator-free NZ is simply daft. If predator-free NZ makes sense economically (and it does) then it stands on its own merits without needing to justify an new tax for it.

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