Buller District Council

Rates Review Project

15 January 2021

Rates Review

A proposal to change the way rates are set for every property in Buller

Council has a proposal to change the way rates are set for every property in the Buller District. The community has a chance to have their say through a process of consultation and hearings.

Consultation is open between 15 January and 19 February 2021.  All submissions must be received by Council by 4:30pm on 19 February 2021.

Information about the proposal

Information about the proposal can be found in the following documents:
Summary Consultation Document (733Kb)
Full Consultation Document (3Mb)
Draft Proposed Rates Policy (340Kb)

Background about the proposal and why Council is considering it can be found in:
Council paper put to the December 2020 Council meeting (705Mb)

You can also pick up paper copies of these documents at Council offices in Westport or Reefton, libraries, or i-Site/Resource Centres in Punakaiki, Karamea and Ngakawau.

Proposed Rates Database

Access to the proposed rates information database which shows the rates you might pay if the proposal is adopted is here.

You will need your property valuation number or the address of your property to search this database.

How to make a submission

A submission can be made online via Survey Monkey here or you can download a paper form:
Submission Form (60Kb)

Paper forms can be emailed to ratesreview@bdc.govt.nz or dropped into Council offices in Westport or Reefton, or posted to:

Rates Review
PO Box 21
Westport 7825

When you complete your submission please make sure you indicate if you wish to speak to your submission.  (All written submissions are read by Council. If you wish to speak to Council at a special hearing set aside for this purpose, you must clearly indicate you wish to speak about your submission and you will be contacted closer to the time of the hearing about this).


Council has previously consulted on changing the way rates are calculated for each property in the Buller.  Initial consultation was held in 2014 and following on from that, further community consultation was undertaken throughout 2017-2018.

During those previous proposals, using capital value as a basis to set general rates was considered. This was rejected after community submissions and feedback.

Council has listened to prior community feedback.  The proposed rates model reflects this,  and this proposal uses land value as a basis for setting general rates.

The rates policy review has always been, and still is, about simplifying the system so that comparable properties pay a similar amount in rates, the system has fewer differentials, and is more straight forward to administer.

The current rating system has 42 differentials with the result that comparable properties are not paying comparable rates. In some cases, the variances are extreme.

  For example a property in Westport township with a land value of $100,000 is being charged $1,110 in variable general rates. A property with the same value near Punakaiki is paying as little as $107.

–  Another example shows a commercial property in Westport with a land value of $100,000 being charged $4,434 variable general rates while a Charleston commercial property of the same value pays $172.

–  In other cases, the variances are minor with some farming rates varying just $6 per $100,000 of land value and there is no need to have two different rates for them.

Under the current system many properties with similar values don’t pay similar general rates, even though general rates pay for all of the services that benefit the whole community.

Council has considered the way general rates are collected in this proposal. General rates are collected in the form of both a value-based general rate (variable rate depending on the value of a property) and a uniform annual general charge which is a fixed amount per property.

Council has reviewed general rates only. It is not proposing to change how targeted rates are calculated. The proposal suggests how much the fixed amount per property should be, and how the variable amounts should be collected from ratepayers.

If the proposal is adopted, a redistribution of rates will occur. This will have a financial impact on every ratepayer.  The effect on ratepayers will vary. Depending on how “out of line” from the average rates for their sector they have being paying, some ratepayers will pay more and some will pay less. This makes setting rates is a complex and challenging task.

Council would like to hear your view on the proposal and encourages everyone to make a submission before submissions close at 4:30pm on 19 February 2021.

Please email ratesreview@bdc.govt.nz with any queries.




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