February 15, 2016
Rate write-offs endorsed by mayor
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick is welcoming proposed changes to rating Maori land.
The changes have been included as a sweetener in the latest version of Te Ture Whenua Maori Land Bill, which is facing increasing opposition as it is taken around the country for comment before being introduced to parliament in the next few weeks.
Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says Cabinet has agreed to allow councils to make unused and unoccupied Maori freehold land non-rateable, orto write off rates arrears if owners commit to develop it.
They will also make all marae and urupa non-rateable, not just those under 2 hectare.
Ms Chadwick says any legislative support to encourage more productive use of Maori freehold land has to be a good thing for owners, communities and ultimately, economies.
She says Rotorua Lakes Council has been well aware of the challenges for Maori freehold land, and the rates remission policy adopted in its long term plan in 2012 included a similar approach to rating unproductive properties.
The Rotorua district features more than 1500 parcels of Maori freehold land, the ownership of which includes many thousands of beneficial owners.
Information hui on Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill will be held today in New Plymouth and Whanganui, and tomorrow in Wellington and Blenheim.
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