Local Government Law: Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 commentary update (Westlaw NZ)
The amendments are intended to support the development and provision of housing on Māori land and to modernise rating legislation affecting Māori land.
A number of measures have been introduced that are designed to ameliorate problems with the rating of Māori freehold land, both from the perspective of the Māori land owners and local authorities. This includes insufficient recognition of the limitations on dealing with and using such land (under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993), and issues arising out of collective ownership. Land owners were typically not keen or able to pay rates on land from which they derived no financial benefit, and councils faced difficulties in recovering rates.
The main innovation is the provision for separate rating areas on Māori freehold land that would otherwise be rated as a whole. These separate rating areas correspond to a discrete useable part of a larger block of Māori land, namely a dwelling and associated separately used land, and effectively become the relevant unit for rating purposes, with their corresponding ratepayer, namely the person actually using the separate rating area.
There is now provision to write off rates that are uneconomic to recover. Outstanding rates must be written off if they cannot reasonably be recovered. Rates of deceased owners of Māori freehold land may likewise be written off.
See Local Government Key Legislation – What's New for more details.