Auckland Council has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision regarding a judicial review of the council’s 2017 and 2018 decisions to introduce an Accommodation Provider Targeted Rate (APTR).
The Supreme Court has found that the council’s decisions to set the APTR were reasonable and made in accordance with the law. Auckland Council will now carefully review the Supreme Court decision and its potential implications for future funding options.
Auckland Council Chief Executive, Jim Stabback says appealing a judgment of the Court of Appeal is not a matter that the council takes lightly.
“We are pleased that this decision gives us clarity to consider our future options.
“This decision fully endorses the approach taken by the council and emphasises that, provided we meet necessary process requirements, as we did here, the funding tools available to us may be used in this way.”
The APTR previously funded 50 per cent of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s destination expenditure, particularly on visitor attraction and major events. The rate was suspended, and associated expenditure reduced, when borders closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of commercial accommodation providers, the applicants, brought legal proceedings challenging the decision to set the APTR in the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 financial years. The High Court upheld the council’s decision to set the APTR in early 2020 and the applicants lodged an appeal.
However, in November 2021 the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the High Court and made declarations that the decisions to set the APTR were invalid. The rate was then removed from Auckland Council’s rating policy.
The council then sought, and was subsequently granted, leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Auckland Council’s 10-year Budget 2021-2031 assumed that $15.1 million from the APTR and associated expenditure would be reinstated from 2023/2024. However, the council could not consider reinstating the APTR until the Supreme Court delivered its decision on the appeal.
The APTR cannot be reintroduced in the Annual Budget 2023/2024, which is currently being considered by the council, without further consultation. It could be considered as a funding option in the 2024-2034 Long Term Plan.