135% Increase in Departure Tax
Travellers departing from the island will now be paying $80 in departure tax, a massive 135% increase from $34. Not unexpectedly the increase has caused a frenzy on social media with most predicting that it will be the people who can least afford it that will be affected – large families.
The clinically factual statement released by Treasury announced …”Niue’s new Departure Tax of $80 has come into effect and is now included in the Air New Zealand tickets.” Those who have already bought their tickets before 1 July will still be required to front up with their $80 and pay it across the counter at the airport.
And how’s this for a bit of bureaucratic authoritarianism: “Any person who fails to comply with or acts in contravention of the Departure Tax Act 1996 and any of its regulations commits an offence which may result in the suspension of your travel.”
With government aiming at 10,000 passenger movement per annum, the new tax will add an additional $800,000 to its coffers. The new rates will also apply to visiting yachts.
The Treasury statement made no mention of where or how the tax will be applied; there is no shortage of suggestions on social media with many predicting – tongue in cheek – that it will all be absorbed by the pay packets of public servants.
In some countries the tax goes towards meeting the security costs at airports with some going to the upkeep of facilities. There are many on the island who are hoping that the Government will use some of the funds to further improve the Passenger Terminal at Hanan International, or better still, build a new terminal. The facility is functional but it is rated unofficially by Tala Niue readers as one of the worst and ugliest in the region.
As for the increase, to bring things into perspective, most if not all countries in the region impose some tax at their departure points, mainly at airports. It may be of little consolation but Niue is not the most expensive. Fiji is said add $200 to the cost of an air ticket. Atu Luga has a departure tax of $55 and Samoa has $65 [tala] for all adult departing passengers. Atu Tahiti has no departure tax but taxes just about everything else – visitors can expect to pay taxe sur la valeur ajoutee [value added tax] of 10% for bars and restaurants and a 6% tax on accommodation plus a 5% tax de sejour.
For those on the mainland, it’s estimated that if you depart from and return to Auckland you will fork out $36 in taxes in some shape or form.