Tables and Chairs Discount, Too Little Too Late

The council's policy to offer a 50 percent discount on businesses' table and chairs licence fees is "too little, too late'' for the boss of Queenstown's Eichardt's Private Hotel and The Grille.

Last month, the council announced the discount is in response to COVID-19 and applies to fees coming due this year.

James Cavanagh said he used to pay $4000 a year for eight outside tables but, when he received his 2020 invoice in late 2019, that had risen to about $9200 to reflect ‘market value’. Since March last year, however, the income from those tables has virtually dried up.

When Cavanagh’s 2021 invoice came due last year, it was in the middle of the pandemic.

“The point is, my cash flow is hurting now, not in 2022,” he said, adding that the Council was out of step with virtually every landlord in town who had offered rent reductions in 2020 and even into this year.

A Council spokesperson confirmed that a ‘one-off’ 50 percent discount for licence fees coming due this year had been approved.