Economic Waves: The Triple Tax Surge Set to Hit Great Barrier Island's Shores. Photo / Mark Russell

Island Braces for 2024’s Triple Tax Turmoil

Economic Waves: The Triple Tax Surge Set to Hit Great Barrier Island’s Shores. Photo / Mark Russell

EDITORIAL: As Aotea sails into 2024, a looming fiscal storm threatens to reshape our tourism landscape. A trio of tax changes, each with significant implications, could mark a challenging year for both locals and visitors.

The GST Shift Hits Hard

First on the horizon is the comprehensive GST mandate taking effect this April. All online accommodation bookings, regardless of the host’s annual turnover, will now carry a 15% Goods and Services Tax. This change sweeps across platforms such as Airbnb, Bookabach, and Booking.com, ending the previous exemption for small-scale operators. The move, rooted in legislation passed by the previous Labour government, was criticised by National at the time, however they’ve not pledged its repeal.

APTR: The Bed Tax’s Return

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As part of the APTR reintroduction, the council is hinting at rate reevaluations, even for properties in the Barrier’s Zone C exemption. The program’s website states: “If your property is in Zone C, your rates may still change.” The controversial Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate (APTR), a hotel bed tax that was paused during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, is set for a 2024 comeback following Supreme Court validation.

Local Levy Looms?

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Compounding these challenges, the local board’s discussion in 2023 over a new tourism levy is expected to be a focus as council budgets contract this year. Taking cues from Rakiura Stewart Island, this proposed tax aims to fund council activities through contributions from the island’s visitors. While intentions align with infrastructure and service improvements, the levy represents a third layer of financial obligations for a sector already under pressure. This tax could also impact as transport providers warn of escalating prices due to upgrades at Auckland Airport.

Navigating Uncharted Waters

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Together, these tax initiatives form a formidable triple whammy for Great Barrier Island’s tourism and hospitality industry. As travel costs spiral and the comparative affordability of international destinations like Australia becomes more apparent, the island’s appeal to budget-conscious travelers is at risk.

  • This article was updated to reflect Aotea falls under ‘Zone C’ of the APTR, however, that council indicates rates could still change with its reimposition.
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