February 2010 - Rating of Māori Land
SOLGM has responded to the call for comments on a paper discussing issues around the rating of Māori freehold land
The total effect of these proposals appears to be the removal of a substantial amount of Māori freehold land from the rating system, with a strong encouragement to remit rates on a portion of the remaining land.
Little has been done to strengthen the enforcement of rates on Māori freehold land.
These proposals do little to reduce the degree of cost-shift that the Government's Treaty obligations create for local communities.
SOLGM is not averse to extending non-rateability to Māori land that is truly held for conservation or heritage purposes, but considers that the proposals do not adequately distinguish this land from other land that is or could be used for economic benefit.
We also have major concerns at the lack of any real teeth in the regime for enforcing rates on Māori land that is in economic use.
While the Government's treaty commitments mean that sale of Māori land will never be an enforcement option - we think that the Māori Land Court should be under stricter direction around issuing of charging orders.
This is an instance where the Government is using local taxation policy as a social policy instrument - standard principles of good policy-making mean the Government should be compensating local authorities for the revenue foregone on Māori land.
Download SOLGM's full response on The Rating of Māori Land (PDF 530KB)