Press release courtesy of the Southland District Council.  My thanks go to my Parliamentary colleagues for expediting the committee stage and seeing it through the final reading:

The Stewart Island/Rakiura visitor levy has become law after being read for a third and final time by Parliament today.

Senior policy analyst Wayne Heerdegen said the levy is a great example of a council, MPs and the community working together for the betterment of that community.

“Council thanks all members of Parliament for their support of this Bill. Thanks must be especially given to MP Eric Roy for sponsoring the Bill, steering it through the intricacies of Parliament and keeping it on track whenever it was faced with obstacles,” Mr Heerdegen said.

Today’s developments will be well received by the Stewart Island community as the levy will provide an alternative source of revenue to rates that is dedicated to the infrastructure, services and amenities for visitors to the island.

Mayor Frana Cardno and chief executive David Adamson have welcomed the final reading.

The new law allows Council to formally receive and spend the income generated from the proposed levy on behalf of the Stewart Island/Rakiura community and work with the Stewart Island Community Board and tourism industry to administer the levy.

“Visitor levies are common throughout Europe, the US and Australia. Stewart Island is the third largest island of New Zealand and a levy is a reliable, fair and efficient way to collect money for subsidising the costs of international and domestic visitors to the island,” Mr Heerdegen said.