Media Release
Feds Wonder Why We Would Need A Tourist Tax?

28 August 2017

Labour’s suggestion of taxing international visitors to raise funds to pay for tourism infrastructure raises questions about why we can’t find the money already from existing tax.

Federated Farmers has been concerned about the pressure councils, particularly small rural councils, are under to maintain services for tourists, including public toilets and other facilities.

“We agree that tourism is placing increasing pressure on our nation’s infrastructure and these costs are being unfairly borne by regional economies.

“But surely it is possible to find the additional targeted funding for councils in need from within this already increasing area of tax take?” Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says.

Feds believes we don’t need more taxes. Tourists already pay to be here, and pay tax when they are here via GST.

“Central government currently collects about $2.8 billion dollars in GST from domestic and international tourists, with that income growing as tourism numbers grow,”

The $2.8 billion in GST was for year ended March 2016 and was up from $2.5 billion for the year before (year to March 2015) and just under $2 billion in the year to March 2011.  

Given double digit growth in tourist numbers over the past year it will be a higher again for the year to March 2017.

“And will New Zealanders returning from holidays be expected to pay this tax?  It sounds as if it could cost a significant amount just to collect it correctly in the first place.

“The funding required should come from the Crown Account, based on GST spent, rather than a tax per head.  That is a much better measure of the costs, and tax generated, by tourism,” Katie says.