SOLD OUT Funding and Rating Forum

The SOLGM Funding and Rating Forum is a must attend for all those who need to know about the often overlooked, yet mission critical, area of local authority funding and rating.

  • 09 Oct - 10 Oct
  • Sudima Hotel, Christchurch
  • 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • $890.00 excl. GST. for members
  • $1,010.00 excl. GST. for non-members
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This Forum is for those who work in, or need to know about, the mission critical field of funding and rating.

As always, the Forum is an exciting blend of theoretical and practical presentations that mix the policy and practice of funding and rating.

This year, we showcase the key points from the upcoming SOLGM guidance on conducting an effective rating review. The value of this guidance and session will be felt about half an hour into your next review (around the time that you get the first of many proposals for a ‘fairer’ rating system).

We’ll look at the changes to the law around the rating and valuation of Māori land that will affect every local authority in the country. We'll cover off the fundamentals - who, what, how much and by when.

We’ll explore the vexed issue of rating commercial accommodation providers, be they as big as the Hilton or as small as Joe’s Bed and Breakfast. There’ll be some learning from the experiences of those who are doing it and those who are attempting to do it.

We’ve been looking at local authorities use of fixed rates and we'll have some interesting findings to share.

And, as always, there’s the usual updates on legal issues, valuation issues and SOLGM matters.

Who should attend:

  • Finance Managers
  • Revenue Managers and Team Leaders
  • Rating staff
  • Legal staff
  • Anyone with an interest in funding and rating issues


Day One Monday 9 October

10.00am Welcome to the Forum and Icebreaker
Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

10.20am Reform of the Rating and Valuation of Māori Freehold Land
Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

While it appears that pre-election enactment of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Amendment Bill will be touch and go, the rating and valuation content is not one of the points at issue. This is a comprehensive reform of the law relating to the valuation and rating treatment of Māori freehold land as one of the enablers. The resulting package of reforms affect every local authority in the country to some degree. This session will explain what the proposals are, what they mean for your local authority and what takes effect from when.

11.15am Morning Tea

11.30am The Do’s and Don’ts of a Rating Review
Stephen Halliwell, Principal, Working Smarter

Working Smarter was the lead agency that delivered the recently released SOLGM guidance on undertaking an effective rating review.This session will focus on the key aspects of keeping a rating review on the path to a useful conclusion.

12.30pm Valuation Update
Neill Sullivan, Valuer-General, Land Information New Zealand

The annual update on developments in our tax base including:

  • development of new rating valuations rules focusing on data requirements as moving rating valuation data specifications to align with the digital age not the manual one
  • the valuer’s perspective on the Te Ture Whenau Māori Act and its implications for rating valuations
  • development of a digital rural rating valuation land mapping tool for use across New Zealand
  • observations from the 2016 revaluation cycle; market trends in 2017
  • and much more.

1.20pm Lunch

2.00pm Marketplace of Information – Session One

Choose one from:

A. SUIP and Targeted Rate Issues – led by Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM
Defining SUIPs (including making the line calls), making the policy decision to go for a targeted rate, creative use of targeted rating powers, maintenance of the necessary RID information and other issues with targeted rates.

B. Rate Review Issues – led by Stephen Halliwell, Principal, Working Smarter
An opportunity to further explore, discuss and query matters from Stephen’s presentation at 11.30am.

C. Māori Land Rating and Valuation Issues - led by Birthe Siems, Revenue Accountant, Gisborne District Council

An opportunity to further explore, discuss and query matters from the 10.20am presentation.

2.50pm Changeover

2.55pm Marketplace of Information – Session Two

Choose another one from the topics listed below.

A. SUIP and Targeted Rate Issues – led by Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM
A repeat of the 2.00pm session.

B. Rate Review Issues – led by Stephen Halliwell, Principal, Working Smarter
A repeat of the 2.00pm session.

3.45pm Afternoon Tea

4.00pm A Word from Our Sponsor - Ibis Information Systems

4.30pm Fixed Rates – Separating Fact from Fiction
Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

There’s a lot of urban myths circulated about local authorities' use of fixed rates (that is uniform annual general charges and targeted fixed rates). For example, there are local authorities that quite legitimately pull in more than 50 percent of their rates revenue from these sources. Raymond has looked at the use of fixed charges in a sample of 50 local authorities and has some interesting thoughts to share.

5.15pm Networking Drinks

7.15pm Conference dinner sponsored by Ibis Information Systems

Day Two Tuesday 10 October

8.45am Welcome to Day Two

8.50am SOLGM Update
Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

The annual update on all of SOLGM’s good works, including an update on the progress of the Business Performance Working Party which has responsibility for this event and for SOLGM’s other work in rating, funding and financial matters.

9.20am Rating of Commercial Accommodation – A Panel Discussion
Andrew Duncan, Manager Financial Policy, Auckland Council
Nicola Berghaus, Senior Advisor Finance, Auckland Council
Jonathan Salter, Partner,
Simpson Grierson

The commercial accommodation sector is both large and complex, ranging as it does from a luxury resort like Millbrook, to Joe’s Bed and Breakfast. Their demand for local authority services can vary from very little to an amount equal to a small town. This session is a panel that puts all of the issues on the table and gets you sharing some ideas as to how to tackle them.

10.15am Morning Tea

10.40am Marketplace of Information – Session Three

Choose one from:

A. Rating Information Database and Valuation Roll Issues – led by Toni Wilkinson, Revenue Manager, Taupo District Council

B. Rates Rebate Issues – led by Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM

C. Collection and Enforcement Issues – led by Birthe Siems, Revenue Accountant Gisborne District Council

11.30am What's all this digital talk about?
Duncan Reed, QV, Chief Data Officer
Automation, predictive analytics, machine learning, block chain……and rating? There is a digital transformation underway and different innovations transforming how people apply property data and insights and a lot of buzz words linked to these. QV is investing in the next generation technology that will allow us to provide councils with greater efficiencies, a world-leading customer experience, richer business intelligence. What does this all mean? Duncan will be presenting about the digital future and the benefits you’ll be able to enjoy in the near future and how the services, data, insights and applications will change to support you.

12.00pm Marketplace of Information – Session Four

Choose one from:

A. Rating Information Database and Valuation Roll Issues – led by Toni Wilkinson, Revenue Manager, Taupo District Council
A. repeat of the 10.40am session.

B. Rates Rebate Issues – led by Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM
A repeat of the 10.40am session.

C. Collection and Enforcement Issues – led by Birthe Siems, Revenue Accountant, Gisborne District Council

A repeat of the 10.40am session.

12.50pm Lunch

1.30pm Legal Update
Lizzy Wiessing, Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson

The annual update on the developments in statute and case law, with a focus this year on the rates assessment, rates invoice and enforcement.

2.20pm Working Through
Dave Tams, Group Manager Corporate Excellence, Northland Regional Council

Last year’s decision in the latest round of Mangawhai litigation and the issues that gave rise to the litigations challenged a number of the aspects of the Northland Region’s rate-setting, collection and enforcement. To finish the seminar, Dave will tell the story of what the council has done to address the issues, and offer some sage advice for those who find themselves in a similar position.

3.00pm Summing Up and Announcement of the Venue for the 2018 event

Delegates at this Forum may be able to claim CPD credits from CA ANZ. Delegates wishing to pursue this should provide CA ANZ with the Forum’s outline and confirmation of their attendance (which we can supply).


  • Raymond Horan

    Manager, Sector Improvement, SOLGM

    Raymond re-joined SOLGM in June 2014 taking on a new role, Sector Improvement Manager. He has spent most of the last 20 years in local government related roles, most recently with the Department of Internal Affairs.

    He describes his job as two-thirds, providing assistance to the local government sector and one-third providing advice to central government on local government matters. His ambition is to help develop a Local Government Act that doesn’t require changes every 18 months. He asks that you wish him well with this task.

  • Mr Andrew Duncan

    Manager Financial Policy, Auckland Council

    Andrew Duncan is Auckland Council’s Financial Policy Manager. He is responsible for advice on rates, development contributions and other funding policy issues.

    Andrew has been at Auckland Council for seven years. Andrew was previously Group Manager Council Enterprises for Manukau City Council for seven years.

    Prior to that Andrew worked in a variety of management and policy roles at Auckland City Council, the Ministry of Health, the Health Funding Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Department of Trade and Industry.

  • Jonathan Salter

    Partner, Simpson Grierson

    Jonathan is the leader of Simpson Grierson’s Local Government and Environment team in Wellington. He has been an advocate of local government interests for more than 30 years, including in respect of funding and rating issues. In any one year he acts for around 60 councils, including as strategic legal adviser to several major councils. As part of this role, he advises on high-profile and contentious issues, including most or all of the headline rating cases over the last 25 years.

  • Lizzy Wiessing

    Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson

    Lizzy commenced her career in local government as a strategic policy analyst at the Western Bay of Plenty District Council. She then worked at a law firm in Tauranga as a resource management and litigation solicitor, with a special interest in local government issues, before joining Simpson Grierson in June 2012. Lizzy has represented clients in the District, Environment and High Courts, and the Court of Appeal.

    Lizzy has a particular interest and expertise in rating and valuation law, and judicial review litigation. She has acted for the councils in the recent high-profile judicial review rating cases.

  • Dave Tams

    Group Manager Corporate Excellence, Northland Regional Council

    Dave is the GM Corporate Excellence for Northland Regional Council responsible for the Finance, HR, H&S, IT and Continuous Improvement functions. Dave has been at NRC for 2 years.

    Before joining NRC he worked at Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education. Prior to moving to New Zealand Dave held a number of Divisional Director roles in UK companies.

    Completely unprepared for the challenges of the Managawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association legal case Dave will share NRC’s journey and learnings !

  • Stephen Halliwell

    Principal, Working Smarter

    Stephen Halliwell is a chartered accountant trading as workingsmarter since 2010. In the past six years he has worked with councils across the country on some fascinating and challenging assignments. In his career he has working in local and central government, licensing trusts, electricity and health sectors. He brings more than 25 years’ experience working in these sectors during a time of considerable change.

    Stephen is a leader experienced in dealing with complex situations, with many stakeholders, in highly visible community and political environments.

  • Toni Wilkinson

    Revenue Manger, Taupo District Council

    I have worked in the rating sector for 19 years mainly in Taupo but also in Tauranga. The complexities of rating, the challenges of legislation and the persistent quest by ratepayers to test their liabilities has made for an interesting and diverse career.

  • Nicola Berghaus

    Senior Advisor, Finance, Auckland Council

    Nicola took up the position as Senior Advisor Finance in Mayor Goff’s office in January with a key role in developing the policy for the accommodation provider targeted rate. Given the scale of Auckland Council’s funding challenges as a result of significant growth, Nicola’s problem solving skills are getting a good workout.

    Nicola is a Chartered Accountant who spent most of her career at PwC in assurance and transaction roles, prior to joining Auckland Council as Finance Manager for corporate support functions.

  • Neill Sullivan

    Valuer-General, Land Information New Zealand

    Neill Sullivan is the Valuer-General based at Land Information New Zealand in Wellington. He has been involved in both the private and rating valuation industries since the 1980s and has held the statutory role since 2004. Key parts of this role include ensuring that the Rating Valuation Rules remain fit for purpose, monitoring valuation legal issues and certifying that council revaluations are sufficiently robust for rating purposes. His presentation today will cover current and emerging issues in the rating valuation arena.