Orewa’s business association, Destination Orewa Beach, has opted to increase the levy that its members pay annually by more than 14 percent, with Hibiscus & Bays Local Board approval.
As a Business Improvement District (BID), membership of Destination Orewa Beach is compulsory for all businesses within its area – from Estuary Arts Centre to Florence Ave and up to Westhoe Road.
Auckland Council collects the levy as a targeted rate, based on the business’ property capital value, and returns it to the business association. In Orewa, these rates range from around $1000 per year for smaller premises to several thousand for larger places such as supermarkets.
This year, while 10 of Auckland’s 48 BIDs voted to reduce their levy by 2-8 percent, Destination Orewa increased its levy by 14.4 percent ($34,776), primarily to fund an America’s Cup fan-zone event in early 2021.
Destination Orewa’s operations manager Hellen Wilkins says the board chose not to decrease the levy “as so much business recovery work is needed to ensure Orewa can rebuild itself after the Covid impacts”.
She says the board initially confirmed a 4.4 percent increase (amounting to $9000) but at a special general meeting last September, voted to increase the levy by a further 10 percent ($25,776) specifically to fund the America’s Cup local event.
“If this event doesn’t happen, for any reason, we need to advise all members how this $25,000 would be allocated,” Hellen says.
She says the America’s Cup event is an essential economic driver for Orewa and will provide a local platform for the Cup, so there is no need to head into the city, as well as encouraging foot traffic into Orewa – including overseas visitors.
“The benefits of increasing the levy far outweigh the impact if we reduced it,” she says. “We anticipate that funding trusts, gaming funds and corporate sponsorship will all be harder to secure this year. So, if we reduced the levy it is unlikely we could recoup the money needed to deliver a full schedule of initiatives and events that generates significant dollars for the town each year.”