A message from Mayor Helen - March 2018

(Posted on: March 20)

Proposed changes in the Manawatū District Council’s draft Long Term Plan will see the significant difference between rural and urban rates reduced.

Council recognises that the services it provides benefit ratepayer groups differently, and that as a general principle it is fair and reasonable to expect that those who can benefit from a service should pay for the service.

The legislation only provides for limited rating system options, and our system is based on capital value. The higher the capital value of your property the higher the rates, which is quite a blunt instrument. It is however only the General rates, Roading rates and Parks and Sportsgrounds rates that are based on capital value and these are the ones that are affected by the proposed changes in rating differentials (weightings).

Other rates that make up the total rates on a property include water supply, wastewater (sewerage), drainage (stormwater), Uniform Annual General Charge, Makino Aquatic Centre, Libraries  and such services as kerbside recycling. There are other specific targeted rates such as CBD redevelopment and security.

“The differentials between the different property categories such as residential, rural and commercial need to be fair and equitable. Council has determined that the current rating differentials are not fair and equitable.   Feilding residential rates are currently about the 5th highest in NZ, and rural rates are some of the lowest in NZ” say Mayor Helen Worboys.

Roading is the most significant expense for our District. Currently 61% of the money to pay for roading comes from rural ratepayers and 39% from urban ratepayers, whereas 89% of the money is spent on rural roads and 11% on urban roads. The proposed changes mean that 71% of the money to pay for roading will come from Rural ratepayers and 29% from urban ratepayers.
Council takes the view that everyone benefits from the roading network.

Reviewing the differential and rebalancing the rural-urban contributions has had the effect of reducing the rate impact on our business district and Feilding residents and increasing the rural. The changes for Rural ratepayers for General Rates will be phased in over 3 years.

The changes to the system affecting the General, Roading and Parks and Sportsgrounds rates only are based on seven principles which are intended to ensure fairness to all ratepayer groups:

  • Rates are proportional to the capital value of the property
  • Rural and residential ratepayers benefit equally from services funded by the General Rate, e.g. District planning, governance and administration of Council, economic development, community development, polls, a portion of licensing, animal control, building consenting, resource consenting and compliance etc, etc.              
  • Properties in the Industrial and Non CBD Commercial, Utilities and Feilding CBD areas benefit more than Rural and Feilding Residential properties from economic development
  • Rural, Feilding Residential and Feilding CBD ratepayers benefit equally from the roading network
  • Industrial and Non CBD Commercial, and Utilities ratepayers place greater demand on the roading network than other ratepayer groups, and should pay more towards its maintenance
  • Feilding CBD ratepayers benefit most from Parks and Sports Grounds; Utilities, Industrial and Non CBD Commercial, Feilding Residential and Feilding Rural ratepayers also receive moderate benefits, while Rural ratepayers benefit the least
  • Feilding Rural and Feilding Residential Ratepayers benefit equally from all services.

Changes in rating differentials are one component of individual rates changes, increased costs and services make up the other component of rates total changes.

The rates in the proposed Long Term plan are indicative only and may change depending on the decisions made through the submission process.

As a generalisation, Feilding residential rates will have a minimal change, Rural rates will increase and Industrial and Commercial rates will decrease. Every property will be affected differently. Examples of how the proposal will affect rates are on Council’s website available from 3 April 2018

These are proposed changes and it is important that Council know if you support or oppose the changes through the submission process which begins on 3 April www.haveyoursay.kiwi.nz  Submissions close on 3 May.

Helen Worboys