Holiday homeowners in Ohakune felt threatened enough to up stakes if the Ruapehu District Council holiday homes policy came into force.
The council has decided not to proceed with the proposed Visitor Accommodation Policy which was to be adopted at June 29's audit sign-off.
Under the policy, every holiday home in the district was to be rated commercial. The Chronicle spoke to some of the small rental accommodation owners before the U-turn. They described the policy as ill-conceived and draconian.
They also questioned how it could possibly be enforced.
Ruapehu Chalet Rentals owner Hamish Sinclair said he gave an oral submission to the council last month and was among 78 of the 90 submitters who opposed the move.
Mr Sinclair said the policy first surfaced a year ago when he made an oral submission on holiday home usage and income in the Ruapehu District. He said he offered to assist the council in drafting a long-term policy that would ensure fairness in the rating, standards and regulation of visitor accommodation.
Mr Sinclair's submission was that any major stakeholder in the accommodation industry in the Ruapehu district should be able to help "draft an intelligent and workable policy".
But the holiday homeowners were taken by surprise when the draft policy was released in April.
Furthermore, Mr Sinclair said, the draft policy was full of mistakes and factual errors.
The council said some small scale visitor accommodation providers, such as homestays, B&Bs;, and baches that were rented out, had not been contributing toward Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO-Visit Ruapehu) funding as much as larger operators, although they benefited from its activities.
Some of the larger visitor accommodation providers felt this was inequitable.
Mr Sinclair has suggested an annual fee of $40 for all holiday houses would be a fair levy.
"This would provide the council the broader funding base, while at the same time removing the argument given by some of the moteliers [and others] that the holiday homes in this district do not input their fair share."
The submission/deliberation process highlighted to council that enforcing compliance would be difficult and expensive.
The Ruapehu District Council needs to raise $250,000 to fund the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO).
Residential ratepayers in the RDC district pay a contribution to the RTO. At present this is charged at .000079pc of capital value ($200,000CV = $15.80 annually), says Hamish Sinclair.