Todd Niall writes:
Sometimes in politics it is worth remembering old wisdoms.
One is: if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. (Despite what your lawyer might tell you).
The Court of Appeal has found one of Auckland mayor Phil Goff’s first initiatives in 2017 was, in fact, such a duck.
Last week, it ruled it was not a valid, legally sound additional rate on visitor accommodation providers.
It was an illegal $28 million tax.
The targeted rate was Goff’s first and highest-risk play upon election in 2016. He had pledged to keep the rates rises paid by voters to a bargain-basement 2.5 per cent, and pre-election, floated the notion of “targeted rates”.
He arrived with his ready-made inner circle of local government newcomers, and within weeks APTR was floated publicly in his first Budget proposal.
So rather than control spending, they imposed an illegal new tax.