Looking out towards the rock at Pah Beach on Aotea, Great Barrier Island.

Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board Considering Tourism Levy

The Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board is considering implementing a visitor levy to offset the impacts of increased tourism on the island, but insists community views will be taken into account.

The proposal is part of the draft Local Board Plan, which outlines the board’s strategy for the next three years.

Aotea, which witnesses a significant influx of tourists during the summer months, has been grappling with the increased demand on its facilities and services, the document claims. With international borders now open, there is added pressure on the island’s infrastructure and environment according to Local Board chair Izzy Fordham. 

“Our community is unique because our location is isolated from most of the region, and we often face very different challenges and needs from the mainland,” Fordham said. 

She emphasized a visitor levy could assist in funding projects that tackle the adverse effects of tourism.

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In search of an effective solution, the local board is observing the experiences of Rakiura / Stewart Island, which has already introduced a visitor levy, Fordham says.

Fordham reiterated the board’s dedication to representing the interests of the island’s residents, especially when larger governing bodies make decisions affecting the region. 

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

“The way Auckland Council is structured means not all local outcomes are decided by the local board. But when that happens, we ensure local views are put in front of key decision-makers,” Fordham said.

Apart from the proposed tourism levy, the draft Local Board Plan includes various advocacy points focusing on the Hauraki Gulf. 

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Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

Notable topics include the prohibition of marine dumping, ending bottom trawling and dredging, and the promotion of sustainable fishing practices.

The community is encouraged to review and provide feedback on the draft plan by visiting akhaveyoursay.co.nz/localboardplans before 14 August.

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