29 days ago

Government accused of stealing after taking tourist tax from people denied NZ visas

Brian from New Lynn

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.
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35 minutes ago

Wildlife Photographer of the Year opens

The Team from Auckland Museum

Bald eagles, a Weddell seal, a gentoo penguin, a three-toed sloth, a grey whale and a curious racoon are just some of the many animals featured in The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, opening on Friday at Auckland Museum.

This week, visitors to the Museum will get their first opportunity to immerse themselves in some of the most vibrant, fascinating images collected this year of the vast and varied nature of life on Earth. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is the world’s most prestigious international nature photography exhibition, direct from London's Natural History Museum.
The longest-running nature photography exhibition in the world, it is known for inspiring curiosity and wonder, while also reminding us of the fragility of our planet and our responsibility to protect it.

Among those featured is the work of 14-year-old Aucklander, Cruz Erdmann, who won the title of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his snap of a bigfin squid illuminating the inky blackness of the ocean.

Don't miss your chance to see up close the images that have got the whole world talking. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is free with Museum entry.
Learn more

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11 hours ago

DOES YOUR DOG NEED A HOME AWAY FROM HOME?

The Team from SPCA - Auckland Centre

SPCA Doggy Daycare is here to help! 🐕🐩🐕‍🦺

Located at our brand new centre in Hobsonville, SPCA Doggy Daycare combines state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities with the expertise and care of our SPCA canine carers to create the ideal home away from home for dogs and puppies of all shapes and sizes!

We are proud to provide a safe and loving environment where all dogs can thrive and have fun, while you have the peace of mind that they are being given the best of care.

With a carefully crafted timetable, your pup will have time for play, relaxation and socialization, all while being constantly supervised!

All proceeds go towards helping SPCA animals find loving forever homes 💖

SPCA Doggy Daycare is open Mon-Fri 7am-6.30pm, with plenty of parking for easy pick-up and drop-off!

To find out more, contact our staff on 09 869 6700 or at hobsonville.doggydaycare@spca.nz 🐶

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M
2 hours ago

Garage Sale!

Moana from Avondale

*** GARAGE SALE *** *** GARAGE SALE ***


when: Saturday 29th Feb 2020

Where: 2/51 Taramea Street, Avondale

Time: 8am -1pm

**Kids clothing, Shoes, House stuff & More**

$1 Sausage Sizzle!!!