ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

'Drastically unfair': The landowner facing a 500 percent rates hike

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Mar 2024, 4:29PM
A Stewart Island/Rakiura ratepayer has escalated his rates hike to elected members of the Southland District Council, from his home in Christchurch. Photo / Getty Images
A Stewart Island/Rakiura ratepayer has escalated his rates hike to elected members of the Southland District Council, from his home in Christchurch. Photo / Getty Images

'Drastically unfair': The landowner facing a 500 percent rates hike

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Mar 2024, 4:29PM

A Stewart Island/Rakiura land owner is staring down the barrel of a 400 per cent increase to their rates, despite their section lacking key council services.

The person — who is unnamed in a recently released Southland District Council report — contacted the organisation in October 2023 querying why their rates had ballooned from $348.68 to $1743.95 in the space of one year.

Labelling the increase “drastically unfair and unjust”, they pointed out there had been zero increase to the value of their section in that time.

“No services have been added to the section in the ratable period,” they wrote to the council.

“Rata St still remains the only road within 1km of the city centre that is in its disgraceful gravel state.

“Every other road on the island with the same vicinity to the city centre as mine has been sealed. So close to the centre and not sealed is abhorrent.”

The person also informed the council that they did not use Southland roads due to living in Christchurch and did not own a car on the island.

According to a staff report prepared for a full council meeting this Wednesday, the main reason for the increase was due to a change in ownership in June 2023.

That alteration moved the property from paying partial rates as an adjoining property to fully rated, the report said.

It also confirmed the property was without amenities.

“The section has no services — no water, no sewage, no stormwater retention, no power, a gravel/muddy road with no footpath or streetlighting.”

Despite a rates reduction request from the owner for the current period, staff recommended no rate remission be applied to the property.

It said the new owner could have discovered what was at stake if they obtained a LIM report prior to purchase, and feared the granting of a remission would set a precedent for other properties.

Councillors will vote on two options at Wednesday’s meeting — to confirm that no remission be applied, or to agree to a partial remission of 40 per cent for the 2023-24 financial year.

If the latter was approved, the property owner would pay a total $697.91 for the 2023-24 financial year, with full rates to apply from July 2024.

The issue was escalated to elected members following a request from the person to speak to a higher authority on the matter, the report said.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you