New Tourism Industry Association head, 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament chief executive and former international cricketer Martin Snedden has started batting for the opposition in a battle to stop bed taxes being imposed on motel and hotel guests in Napier and Hastings.
Mr Snedden said the tax proposed to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council by Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule would be a "lazy tax," and would unfairly penalise those using commercial accommodation in the twin cities.
"It won't capture the many visitors who stay privately with friends and family or those who stay in rented homes for example," he said of the tax suggested as an alternative to ratepayer funding of Hawke's Bay Tourism's regional events strategy, rejected by the city and district councils last week.
"It also doesn't target other businesses that benefit from visitors such as vineyards, restaurants, bars and cafes, supermarkets and petrol stations," Mr Snedden said.
New Zealanders as well as international visitors would be hit by such a tax, which the mayors suggested could be introduced gradually to reach $1 a night after three years.
Mr Snedden said he would write to both mayors on behalf of the association "outlining the industry's position on bed taxes and why we do not support them and suggesting alternative rating proposals for them to consider".
In Scotland, Edinburgh City Council's attempts to install a tax of £1 ($2) to £2 a night, a first in the UK and a hot topic in recent elections, appear to have been scrapped because of a need for approval from a Scottish Government that has already rejected the idea.