Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Whakatane: Rural areas holding highest rate debt

Murupara, Ruatoki and other rural areas are responsible for over 70 percent of Whakatane District Council’s outstanding rates.

Whakatane District
Council buildings

BURDEN: Whakatane District Council figures show that rural, Maori communities are carrying the highest rate debt. CHARLOTTE JONES/LDR

Just under half of this debt is due on Maori-owned land.

The matter was discussed at the council’s first organisational performance committee meeting last week.

Finance and corporate services general manager Helen Barnes told councillors that staff had been doing a good job of working with these communities to bring their rate arrears down.

The council’s total rate debt as at September 30 was $6.95 million – down from $7.26m at the same time last year. Land rate arrears make up the majority of this amount.

Of this, nearly $3m is land rate arrears dating back three years or more, just over $1m dates to two years ago, nearly $2m is from last year and just under a million is from this year.

Nearly 40 percent of land rate arrears relate to penalties imposed by the council for non-payment.

The council applies a 10 percent instalment penalty to any rates which are not paid by the instalment due date and a further 10 percent to any overdue rates from the previous year that remain unpaid as at September 30.

Ratepayers owe the council $382,324 in P1 penalties and $1,840,936 in P2 penalties.

Councillor Lesley Immink said she felt penalties of 10 percent were too high to be burdening the communities with the highest rates arrears with.

“These are our most deprived communities,” she said.

“How likely are they to pay a penalty when they already can’t afford to pay their rates?”

Ms Barnes said council staff tried to help these communities to pay their rates by offering rates amnesties and by offering rates remissions.

“However, we do not like to offer rates amnesties too regularly as it may encourage people not to make payments,” she said.

Rates can be remitted on undeveloped sections or sections from which a building has been removed or is in a derelict state. Rates can also be remitted on Maori-owned land if the land is owned by multiple individuals, there are legislative and cultural restraints on the ability to alienate Maori freehold land or the land is undeveloped or unoccupied for cultural, spiritual or practical reasons.

Chief executive Stephanie O’Sullivan said the council would need to investigate ways it could help the Maori community to make their land productive and overturn rating arrears.

“This is an endemic and systemic problem,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“We need to create opportunities for a good economic future which will improve cultural, social and environmental wellbeing.”

Mrs Immink asked if there was a possibility resource consent fees could be credited against rate arrears on unproductive land.

Ms O’Sullivan said that was one option the council was investigating but legislation surrounding rates was “quite specific”.

Councillor Nandor Tanczos asked if people who lived in these communities could do a “social good” to be credited against their rates.

Councillors also questioned the protocol around selling a property if rates had not been paid on it for a significant amount of time.

Ms Barnes said for land to be classed as abandoned it must not have had any rates paid on it for three years and the owner must be untraceable. She said even if a landowner were to pay one dollar during this time it would reset that three years.

“We would then begin the legal process to sell that land on behalf of the owner and any rates owing would be paid from the proceeds of that sale,” said Ms Barnes.

“If the proceeds from the sale exceed the rates owing the remainder would be given to the owner or a public trust.”


Land rate arrears by area 2018/2019
Murupara: 18 percent
Ohope: 1 percent
Taneatua: 3 percent
Matata: 8 percent
Edgecumbe: 5 percent
Ruatoki and surrounds: 24 percent
Rural: 29 percent
Whakatane/Coastlands: 12 percent

Land rate arrears by area 2019/2020
Murupara: 20 percent
Ohope: 1 percent
Taneatua: 4 percent
Matata: 8 percent
Edgecumbe: 3 percent
Ruatoki and surrounds: 24 percent
Rural: 29 percent
Whakatane/Coastlands: 11 percent

Land rates September 2018/2019
53 percent of debt general land
47 percent of debt Maori land

Land rates September 2019/2020
52 percent of debt general land
48 percent of debt Maori land

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: U.S. Capitol Insurrection As Seen From Abroad

In the wake of the white nationalist mob takeover of the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s pending second impeachment, I contacted journalists and activists overseas to get an idea of how the rest of the world currently views us.... More>>


Ian Powell: Health Restructuring Threatens Patient Voice

The opportunity for public voice is vital for the effective functioning of New Zealand’s health system. Inevitably voice boils down to the accessibility quality of comprehensive healthcare services for patients both at an individual treatment and population health ... More>>


Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Demise Of The Tokyo Olympics

As the Covid vaccines roll out around the world, the Tokyo Olympics are looming as a major test of when (and whether) something akin to global normality can return – to international travel, to global tourism, to professional sport and to mass gatherings of human beings. Currently though, it looks like a forlorn hope that Japan will be able to host the Olympics in late July. Herd immunity on any significant scale seems possible only by December 2021, at the earliest... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Encircling China And Praising India: The US Strategic Framework For The Indo-Pacific

The feeling from Rory Medcalf of the Australian National University was one of breathless wonder. “The US government,” he wrote in The Strategist , “has just classified one of its most secretive national security documents - its 2018 strategic framework ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog