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Committee Reports On Local Govt. (Rating) Bill


LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Media Release


COMMITTEE REPORTS ON
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (RATING) BILL

Today the Local Government and Environment Committee has presented its report on the Local Government (Rating) Bill. The bill replaces the Rating Powers Act 1988 and relates to powers to set, assess and collect rates to fund local government activities.

In the report, the committee recommends that the bill be passed with amendments. These amendments include:

- Linking the purpose of the bill with the purposes of local government set out in the Local Government Act 1974.
- Basing the ‘rating unit’ on the concept of a certificate of title, with exceptions to this general principle to be set out through rules made by the Valuer-General.
- Retaining primary liability for rates with the lessee in the case of long-term registered leases. This is an exception to owner liability, which otherwise will generally prevail (recommended by majority).
- Allowing a uniform annual general charge to be set for each separately used or inhabited part of a rating unit.
- Clarifying that a local authority may set a single targeted rate for several functions or several targeted rates for a single function.
- Providing for different parts of a rating unit to be recorded and assessed separately, where they require different rating treatment.
- Enabling local authorities to recover unpaid rates from the first mortgagee.
- Providing for the lessee of multiply-owned Mâori freehold land to be registered as the ratepayer, unless it is specified otherwise in the lease.
- Simplifying the process for replacing invalid rates.
- Introducing a partial exemption for categories of land that currently receive a mandatory 50 percent rates remission (recommended by majority).

The committee also suggests the House consider amending the bill to clarify that local authorities may practise ‘internal borrowing’. The current lack of certainty about whether this practice is legal is costing some councils many thousands of dollars. The committee itself could not recommend this amendment as it is outside the scope of the bill.

Copies of the report will soon be available from Bennetts Government Bookshops and at the following website: www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

For further information contact Jeanette Fitzsimons, Chairperson of the Local Government and Environment Committee, ph 025 586 068.

Members of the Local Government and Environment Committee are:

Jeanette Fitzsimons, Chairperson
Martin Gallagher, Deputy Chairperson
David Benson-Pope
Georgina Beyer
Gerrard Eckhoff
Ann Hartley
Hon Marie Hasler
Joe Hawke
Alec Neill
Eric Roy

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