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More Rates Remission For Māori Land Under New Greater Wellington Proposals

Consultation has opened on a new Greater Wellington Rates Remissions on Māori Land Policy, which offers wider support to owners of whenua Māori to look after the whenua for current and future generations.

The draft policy supports improving outcomes for mana whenua and Māori, expanding the criteria, and therefore the opportunity, for rates remission on a broader range of Māori land.

The proposal creates four new areas of eligibility for remission from regional rates: land converted from Māori freehold title to general title under the Māori Affairs Amendment Act 1967; land returned through Treaty settlement; general land in collective Māori ownership and general land under development in collective Māori ownership.

Greater Wellington will remit up to 100 percent of rates on eligible land for up to three years, subject to the use or purpose of the land continuing to meet a range of enabling criteria.

“This is a tangible way to support Māori development,” says Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter.

“Owners will only need to apply for a rates remission once every three years, which gives them the confidence and security to meet the criteria for remission over the medium to long term.

The new policy will provide benefits to Māori in many ways. For example, it could be used to protect the wāhi tapu of land, as well as support Māori ownership of more land of significance to Māori. Another example is that mātāwaka marae, which are not usually located on or near Māori freehold land, can apply for a rates remission for papakāinga and other infrastructure that supports marae but is located on general land. This will provide support to all marae communities in the region to ensure their whānau can live near marae, support marae and participate fully in the life of marae.

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“These policy changes are a meaningful step towards providing support for Māori to keep their whenua in Māori ownership, and enable rates relief for whenua Māori to provide support for mana whenua, Māori values, and marae communities,” says Daran Ponter.

”We see this as an important way to support ownership of whenua Māori and the aspirations of Māori for how they want to utilise their whenua.”

All councils are required to have a policy on rates remissions and postponements on Māori freehold land. As part of the review of its rates remission policy, Greater Wellington decided to consult on the proposed changes as they better align with Council’s strategic priority of improving outcomes for mana whenua and Māori, and with Council’s adopted Māori Outcomes Framework.

The proposed changes to the policy will also ensure it is up to date and compliant with legislation for rating of whenua Māori and the principles of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

Under a rates remission, Council agrees to waive the obligation to pay rates on a property in a particular financial year.

The policy is now out for public consultation until 2 May 2022 with hearings of submitters scheduled for 17 to 19 May 2022. It can be found at: https://haveyoursay.gw.govt.nz/maori-land-rates-remissions

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