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April 2022 Issue
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Stewart Island visitor levy: ‘Keep it as it is’

Tourist guide Ulva Goodwillie says the Stewart Island visitor levy should remain at $5

Now is not the time to increase the Rakiura/Stewart Island visitor levy, a local tourist guide has said.

Southland District Council has mooted a tripling of the $5 levy introduced in 2013, but Ulva Goodwillie said such a jump couldn’t be justified, especially when Kiwis, the island’s only visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic, were doing it tough.

Even in normal times, an increase to $15 would be too much, Goodwillie said.

“Keep it as it is. If there is an increase, it should be in line with the cost of living.”

The levy is collected on behalf of the council by Rakiura transport operators.

Goodwillie said the cruise ship visitor market died down when New Zealand’s borders closed due to Covid, and  revenue from the levy would have taken a hit.

The owner-operator of Ulva’s Guided Walks, Goodwillie supported the introduction of the levy in 2013. It had helped fund visitor infrastructure such as footpaths, toilets and wharf improvements, which was difficult for the island’s 400 ratepayers to afford.

Public consultation on proposed changes to the levy is open until April 1.