Rating of Māori freehold land
There have been changes to the way that councils can rate Māori Freehold Land to support land use and development.
The Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Act came into effect on 1 July 2021 and aims to reduce barriers for owners of Māori freehold land who want to use, occupy and build houses on their land.
The changes, which are outlined below, also aim to make the rating system easier for landowners and local authorities.
What has changed?
Before July 2021
Wholly unused land
Owners legally obliged to pay rates.
Historic rate arrears on unused Māori land will automatically be removed and no further rates charged on wholly unused land blocks.
Council could not write off rates considered to be unrecoverable.
Council must write off outstanding rates on any Māori freehold land considered unrecoverable, including debt inherited from deceased owners.
Low-income homeowners on a multi-home Māori land block could not access a rates rebate.
Upon request, Council can rate individual houses on Māori land as a separate rating unit.
The individual homeowner is then responsible for rates on that rating unit and can access the Rates Rebate Scheme.
Development of Māori Freehold Land
There were inconsistent approaches across Local Authorities to remit or postpone rates on unused land.
Māori landowners can apply for a rates remission while their land is under development. If the application is successful it will provide some rates relief for Māori landowners while they bring their land into greater use.
Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata land
Local authorities could collect rates on land protected for conservation purposes under Ngā Whenua Rāhui.
All Ngā Whenua Rāhui land is non-rateable and rate arrears written off.
Multiple land blocks
Multiple land blocks from the same parent were rated individually.
Māori landowners can apply to have multiple landblocks from the same parent block treated as a single rating unit (this will reduce the number of uniform annual general charges applied).