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 tax 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.