Source: New Zealand Government
Proposed changes to the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 will reduce rating barriers for owners of Māori land who want to use and develop their whenua.
There is around 1.4 million hectares of Māori freehold land and much of it is unused or under developed.
“Owners of Māori land have aspirations to use and develop their whenua, but they face a number of unique challenges including unpaid rates arrears.
“This package of changes will break the deadlock where rates arrears prevents development from happening, and the emphasis will be more on enabling whenua to be developed in order to meet rating expectations, “ says Local Government and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
Under the proposal, local authority Chief Executives will have the power to write off rates arrears on all land (including general land) if they consider the rates are unrecoverable, including rates arrears inherited from deceased owners of Māori land. Most of the rates arrears on Māori freehold land are on unused land and the majority of this is from non-payment of penalties rather than the original rates bills.
Minister Mahuta says, “While the retention of Māori land is paramount, inheriting rates arrears on land that can’t be sold discourages landowners from engaging with their whenua.
“This proposal would give current owners a ‘clean slate’ so they can start afresh. Owners will be able to bring proposals to their local council without the fear of having to pay rates arrears before starting any kind of development.”
Most unused Māori land will be made non-rateable, including Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata which is Māori land that has been set aside for conservation purposes. This will mean any rates arrears on unused or Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata will be removed.
“At present, the rating policy on wholly unused land or Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata varies from council to council. The proposed legislative changes will ensure that there is greater consistency across the country and provide greater clarity on what kind of Māori land is non-rateable”, says Minister Mahuta.
To encourage the development of Māori land, including the building of houses, a statutory rates remission process will be put in place for Māori land under development.
“This will encourage local authorities to provide landowners some rates relief while owners are in the transition phase of making their whenua more productive. The development of whenua Māori will ultimately benefit the whole community.
“The changes will also put owners of homes on Māori land on the same footing as other home owners and retirement village residents when it comes to accessing the rates rebate scheme” she said.
This will be done by giving multiple homeowners on one block of Māori land the option to be rated individually. This will ensure low income homeowners are eligible for rates rebates.
“Some of these changes are about ensuring equitable rating practices for Māori and general land, while other changes are designed to release Māori landowners and local authorities from being stuck in a situation that neither party can easily resolve,” says Minister Mahuta.
The rating changes are part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to support whānau development through whenua. The cross-Government programme includes targeted amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, new and enhanced Māori Land Court services, the launch of a whenua knowledge hub and website, regional advisory services and investment.
The Minister expects a Bill to amend the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 will be introduced in the first half of 2020.
2 Huitanguru 2020 PĀNUI PĀPĀHO
Mā ngā huringa tāke kaunihera e tautoko i te whakawhanaketanga ā-whānau, ā-rohe hoki
Mā ngā huringa whakapae ki Te Ture Kāwanatanga ā-Rohe 2002 e whakaheke ngā ārai tāke kaunihera mā ngā kaipupuri whenua Māori e hiahia ana ki te whakamahi me te whakawhanake i tō rātou whenua.
He tata ki te 1.4 miriona heketea te nui o te whenua Māori koreutu, ko te nuinga kāore i te whakamahia, he iti rānei te whanaketanga.
“He wawata nui hoki tō te kaipupuri whenua Māori ko te whakamahinga me te whakawhanaketanga o tō rātou whenua, heoi anō, he nui ngā piki me ngā heke ka pā ki te hunga nei me ōna momo wero katoa, tae atu ki te ngā pire mō te kore utu o ngā tāke kaunihera.
‘Mā ēnei huringa e whati te kōmutunga i ngā wāhi e aukati ana i te whanaketanga i runga i te nui o te nama o te tāke kaunihera, ka huri kē te aronga ki te whakawāteatanga o te whenua kia pai ai te whakawhanaketanga o te whenua kia tutuki i ngā hiahia tāke kaunihera,” te kī a te Minita Kāwanatanga ā-Rohe, Minita Whanaketanga Māori hoki a Minita Mahuta.
I raro i te kaupapa, e taea ai e ngā Tumuaki matua o ngā mana ā-rohe te whakakore ngā pire tāke kaunihera i runga i ngā whenua katoa, (tae atu ki ngā whenua whānui) ina whakaaro ai e kore ngā tāke kaunihera e utua, tae atu ki ngā pire tāke kaunihera o ngā kaipupuri whenua Māori kua mate. Ko te nuinga o ngā tāke kaunihera i runga i te whenua Māori koreutu kei runga i ngā whenua kāore e whakamahia ana, e ahu mai ana te nuinga o tēnei i te kore-utunga o ngā whiunga, kaua ngā tāke kaunihera taketake.
E kī ana a Minita Mahuta, “Ko te mea nui tonu ko te puritanga tonutanga o te whenua, heoi anō, ki te heke mai te whenua tē taea te hoko me ōna pire tāke kaunihera, e kore te tangata e hiahia ki tōna whenua.
“Mā tēnei kaupapa e whai ‘tīmatanga hou’ ngā kaipupuri whenua o te wā E taea ai e ngā kaipupuri te hari ngā whakaaro mō te whenua ki te kaunihera me te kore mataku ki te pire nui e whanga mai ana i mua i te tīmatanga o tētahi whanaketanga.
Ka whakakorengia ngā tāke kaunihera o te nuinga o te whenua Māori tae atu ki Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata, he whenua tēnei kua waiho mō ngā take papa atawhai. Ko te tikanga o tēnei ka tangohia ngā tāke kaunihera i runga i ngā whenua kāore i te whakamahia, i Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata rānei.
“I tēnei wā, he rerekē te kaupapahere tāke kaunihera i runga i ngā whenua kāore i te whakamahia, i runga rānei i Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata i tēnā kaunihera, i tēnā kaunihera. Mā ngā huringa ā-ture kua takoto e mātua whakarite he ōrite katoa puta noa i te whenua, ka mōhiotia hoki he whenua Māori e kore e taea te tāke ā-kaunihera,” te kī a Minita Mahuta.
Hei whakatenatena i e whanaketanga o te whenua Māori tae atu ki te hanganga o ngā whare, ka whakaritea he tukanga whakakorenga o ngā tāke kaunihera ā-ture mō te whenua Māori e whanaketia ana.
“Mā konei e whakatenatena i ngā mana ā-rohe ki te tautoko i ngā kaipupuri whenua i a rātou e whai ana ki te whakapiki i te whai hua o tō rātou whenua. I te mutunga iho ka whaihua te hapori katoa i te whakawhanaketanga o te whenua Māori.
“Mā ngā huringa e ōrite ai te mana o ngā kaipupuri o ngā kāinga i runga i ngā whenua Māori ki ētahi atu kaipupuri whenua, tāngata noho whare kaumātua hoki i te whai wāhitanga atu ki te kaupapa whakahoki tāke kaunihera,” tana kī.
E taea ai tēnei mā te tuku ki ngā tini kaipupuri whenua i runga i te poro whenua Māori te whiringa kia tākengia takitahitia. Mā konei e whakarite ka whiwhi hoki ngā kaipupuri kāinga i runga i ngā utu iti i ngā whakahokinga tāke kaunihera.
“Ko te tikanga o ētahi o ngā huringa kia mātua whakarite he ōrite ngā tikanga tāke kaunihera mā te whenua Māori, whenua whānui hoki, i whakaritea ētahi atu kia kore ai e mau te kaipupuri whenua Māori me ngā mana ā-rohe i tētahi āhuatanga uaua te whakatau,” te kī a Minita Mahuta.
He wāhanga ngā huringa tāke kaunihera o te whai tonu a te Kāwanatanga ki te tautoko i te whanaketanga whānau mā te whenua. Kei roto i te kaupapa whakawhiti-Kāwanatanga ko ngā whakatikatika e aro ana ki Te Ture Whenua Māori 1993, ki ngā ratonga hou me ngā ratonga kua whakapaitia hoki o Te Kooti Whenua Māori, te whakaterenga o tētahi pokapū mātauranga whenua, paetukutuku hoki, ratonga tohutohu ā-rohe me te haumi.
E whakaaro ana te Minita ka puta he Pire ki te whakarerekē i Te Ture Kāwanatanga ā-Rohe (Tāke Kaunihera) 2002 i te wāhanga tuatahi o 2020.