A tax levy introduced last year on visitors entering New Zealand to help fund tourism infrastructure is under scrutiny as the $35.00 International Visitor Levy is also being collected from people who never set foot in the country. Foreigners denied visitor visas here are automatically charged the levy, with some calling it theft.
Already close to a million dollars has been covertly collected in just six months. The levy is effectively a tax on tourists to help pay for tourism and conservation infrastructure improvements. But the problem is those who apply to come here as visitors but are turned down are also paying. The levy was introduced last July and figures obtained show in the first six months to December almost 285,000 thousand visitor visa applications were lodged with Immigration New Zealand but more than 24,000 of those were declined. Still, they were charged the $35.00 levy meaning the government pocketed more than $850,000 from people who'll never set foot on Kiwi soil.
Robyn Kurth and her group of friends attempted to bring out two Ethiopian guides to New Zealand as visitors but they were refused entry. She says the Government taking the fee from them amounts to theft. “So where's the $35.00? I want it back,” she says. “It can't be charged to people who are not coming here. How can we charge them if they're not actually going to use the facilities?” Immigration lawyer Ramya Sathiyanathan calls it deception. She says the online application is far from clear about the levy. “It's hidden, I presume quite intentionally in the online application form and it's only when you print a receipt you see it's been taken as part of the overall fee,” she says. The ministry says collecting the levy at time of application keeps admin costs down and confirms there is no provision for refunds. “What I think is important is that it's clear to people up front is that that fee is non-refundable and I think that's something that immigration New Zealand needs to deal with and i understand that they are.
I know what needs to happen though is we need more
rest rooms or toilets though on some main streets.
Yes Lincoln Road, has the only public toilet area
that I know that people can do their 1's and 2's so
to speak, but there is just no other. I do a lot
of walking with my part time paper run and
advertising run . I walk around Woodford Ave,
Buscomb Ave, one half of Lincoln Rd delivering
Western Leaders. There is no public toilets around
Probably if you can go to the Police Station and
ask if you need to use the toilets, maybe, or the
other one I can think of is the public toilets near
where the Pak N Save in Henderson used to be.
I do have a good bladder though. My paper run I do
around Woodford Ave,Buscomb Ave and Lincoln Rd have
no toilet area than the police station, the BP on
Lincoln Rd(but then not busting to go) or the
public toilets in Henderson. If you can recommend
myself holding on to my urine for 2 hours long
before going to the Henderson Public toilets, then
I think we need to put more toilets somewhere.
I also do a advertising run down Larrisa Rd, and those back streets, Zodiac Rd, half of Universal Road and back onto Harrington Road and up on Rathgar Road to finish off my advertising run.
Same deal no public toilets in sight whatsoever. Could use the BP Toilet there on Swanson Road, but too far to walk all the way up Swanson Road, ask to use the toilets there, then walk all the way down again. Needs to be somewhere closer.
To Phil Goff, can we invest in some money getting some toilets put in around in West Auckland? Much appreciated.
I am going to talk about a matter that I posted on Neighbourly some years ago but this time I will hold back on referring to the skin colour of the people involved.
Earlier today I went to the local liqour outlet for a bottle of wine.
Whilst there a ute turned up and parked at a funny angle in the Disabled Parking area.
Another member of the public was angry at this and accosted the people who had popped into the local liqour for booze.
What the offending people did was pure ignorance and nastiness. They started yelling that we were racist and wouldn't pick on anyone of a different skin colour.
I had gone to the defense of the member of the public and said to the people "Actually he is right and you are wrong. You should not park in the disabled parking area". I spoke quietly and calmly.
They turned on me and the woman became all aggresive. I ended up shaking and I said that I am in my late 50s and could have needed that parking area due to a disability. They did not have a disabled parking sticker and their behaviour showed to me how lazy they were when it came to respecting others eg the disabled.
They carried on yelling the F word frequently to the point where I thought the F word is probably the ONLY word they can speak because they think it sounds all smart and intelligent.
I cannot stand hearing anyone use the F Word because it shows a low intelligence and a lack of proper vocabulary.
Fortunately when it looked like the aggressive woman who claimed we were being racist seemed to be looking like she would attack me one of the local homeless guys came along and told the people to "F off". He has known me a long time as I am always friendly towards him and give him food and sometimes money.
I told him that all that, what happened, had me shaking all over.
Out of all this there is one thing that really angers me and it's the incredible laziness of so many able-bodied people that park in the disabled parking areas. But when a person or persons react aggressively because they are in the wrong by abusing and calling others racist then that really does bother me.
I just remembered one more 'gesture' the woman who became very aggressive did and that was she went up to the guy complaining and presented a finger that one can assume is the Up Yours gesture.
And so all that i.e the frequency of the F word(please be aware I do use that word myself but it's 99% directed at the traffic congestion of Auckland)and her hand gestures shows to me the lack of intelligence of the offender and her colleagues(all of whom were also behaving irrationally aggressively perhaps because they knew they were in the wrong but wanted to be right).
A disabled person must be able to park in a disabled parking area with the relevant sticker appearing on the windscreen area. Not have to contend with lazy able bodied people who think they are more worthy of the spot than a disabled person.