Rates Review - Pre-review focus groups

Thanks to all that registered and were selected to participate. The focus groups were a really constructive feedback forum - Rotorua Lakes Council appreciate the support from our community in this discovery phase!


Prior to the commencement of a rates review a number of focus groups are planned to enable Council to define problems with the current framework. These findings will help in determining potential solutions to improve how Council allocates rates.

The series of focus groups will cover a range of key community sectors and existing rating categories (urban, rural residential, lakes communities, farming, commercial, industrial etc).

Within the focus groups the existing rating framework will be explored and the legislation/rules around rating made clear.

The focus groups will then share feedback and experiences on how Rotorua's rates are allocated across the district.



Thanks to all that registered and were selected to participate. The focus groups were a really constructive feedback forum - Rotorua Lakes Council appreciate the support from our community in this discovery phase!


Prior to the commencement of a rates review a number of focus groups are planned to enable Council to define problems with the current framework. These findings will help in determining potential solutions to improve how Council allocates rates.

The series of focus groups will cover a range of key community sectors and existing rating categories (urban, rural residential, lakes communities, farming, commercial, industrial etc).

Within the focus groups the existing rating framework will be explored and the legislation/rules around rating made clear.

The focus groups will then share feedback and experiences on how Rotorua's rates are allocated across the district.



  • What are these 'Focus Groups'?

    about 1 year ago

    Focus groups are a way to pre-engage with groups within the community. This information from the focus groups will support in gaining the understanding and information needed to define the purpose of a rating review.

    Details: If you register and are selected to be on a focus group:

    • A commitment of attending just one focus group
    • A focus group session is likely to take approx 2 hours
    • You will be given a small koha as a way of reciprocity for you times & input
    • Venue will be a central location for the participants
    • Times and...

    Focus groups are a way to pre-engage with groups within the community. This information from the focus groups will support in gaining the understanding and information needed to define the purpose of a rating review.

    Details: If you register and are selected to be on a focus group:

    • A commitment of attending just one focus group
    • A focus group session is likely to take approx 2 hours
    • You will be given a small koha as a way of reciprocity for you times & input
    • Venue will be a central location for the participants
    • Times and dates to be confirmed


    The focus groups will cover a range of key community sectors and existing rating categories.

    • Urban residential - Wider urban area of Rotorua city
    • Lakes Communities& Rural Villages - Villages outside of Rotorua City e.g. Okareka, Reporoa, Mamaku, Rotoma
    • Rural Lifestyle Block - Property outside of Rotorua City no larger than 2 hectares
    • Farming - Larger than 2 hectares of rural land often used for farming purposes
    • Industrial - Property that is zoned for industrial use
    • Accommodation (Motel, hotel, B&B etc.) - Commercial property used for accomodation purposes
    • Commercial - Commercial property used for business/commercial purposes
    • Iwi/Hapu/Multiple owned Maori Land

    Within the focus groups the existing rating framework will be explored and the legislation/rules around rating demystified. The focus groups will then share feedback and experiences on how Rotorua's rates are allocated across the district.

    We are currently working on being able to deliver the focus groups online in a webinar environment for out of district ratepayers etc. We will confirm this shortly and offer the option where appropriate.
  • Rates Review – What is it?

    about 1 year ago
    A rating review is a review of the allocation of rates and what share of the rates each ratepayer should pay.
    It is not a review about how much should be collected in rates.

    The amount of the rates income required is the result of the budgeting process, the outcome of which has been the recent adoption of the 2018-2028 Long-term Plan.

    A Rates Review is a review of the way we structure our overall rating system to share the rating burden among all ratepayers.

    A rating review is a review of the allocation of rates and what share of the rates each ratepayer should pay.
    It is not a review about how much should be collected in rates.

    The amount of the rates income required is the result of the budgeting process, the outcome of which has been the recent adoption of the 2018-2028 Long-term Plan.

    A Rates Review is a review of the way we structure our overall rating system to share the rating burden among all ratepayers.
  • Rates 101

    about 1 year ago
    What are rates?
    • Rates are a tax
    • Rates are independent from the levels of benefit received (often an indirect visibility of benefit)
    • The Local Government Rating Act 2002 is NZ’s rating statute or rules on how rates can be set
    • The Rating Valuations Act 1998 underpins property valuations used to set rates
    Factors that are consider in formulating how a council sets a rate policy:
    • Equity
    • Affordability
    • Simplicity
    • Visibility
    • Stability
    • Adequacy
    • Comparability
    • Efficiency

    What are the main types...

    What are rates?
    • Rates are a tax
    • Rates are independent from the levels of benefit received (often an indirect visibility of benefit)
    • The Local Government Rating Act 2002 is NZ’s rating statute or rules on how rates can be set
    • The Rating Valuations Act 1998 underpins property valuations used to set rates
    Factors that are consider in formulating how a council sets a rate policy:
    • Equity
    • Affordability
    • Simplicity
    • Visibility
    • Stability
    • Adequacy
    • Comparability
    • Efficiency

    What are the main types of rates?
    • General Rate - Based off the value of a property and applies to all rateable properties
    • Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) - Fixed annual amount that applies to all rateable properties
    • Targeted Rate - Set for one or more specific activities and may be applied to all properties or to a subset of properties (area of benefit)

    Rates are a little complicated. But if you'd like to find out more - Try This!
  • Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 summary information

    about 1 year ago

    Local Government (Rating) Act 2002

    The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (LGRA) provides councils with powers to set, assess and collect “rates” to fund local government activities. These rates are locally-set property-based taxes.

    Purpose of the Act

    The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (LGRA) provides councils with powers to set, assess and collect rates to fund local government activities. There are three main purposes of the LGRA –

    • To provide local authorities with flexible powers to set, assess, and collect rates.
    • To ensure rates reflect decisions made in a...

    Local Government (Rating) Act 2002

    The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (LGRA) provides councils with powers to set, assess and collect “rates” to fund local government activities. These rates are locally-set property-based taxes.

    Purpose of the Act

    The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (LGRA) provides councils with powers to set, assess and collect rates to fund local government activities. There are three main purposes of the LGRA –

    • To provide local authorities with flexible powers to set, assess, and collect rates.
    • To ensure rates reflect decisions made in a transparent and consultative manner.
    • To provide for processes and information to ensure ratepayers can identify and understand their liability for rates.

    One of the prime objectives of the LGRA is to establish clarity, certainty, and stability in rating matters.

    Mechanisms are set out in the LGRA to allow local authorities to raise revenue from the community generally, specified groups or categories of ratepayers, and those who use or generate the need for particular services or amenities.

    Constitutional Principles

    The rating of land is a non-arbitrary coercive tax. Ultimately, defaulting ratepayers can lose their property. It is important, therefore, that policies and processes associated with all aspects of rating are subject to transparency and accountability.

    Key Elements of the Act

    The unit of liability for rates is the rating unit. It is based on the concept of ownership – where, in particular, 1 certificate of title = 1 rating unit. Valuation rules allow for exceptions and oddities, as not all land in New Zealand has a certificate of title. There may, for example, be some other form of instrument that establishes ownership. The framework for the Valuer-General’s rules is spelled out in legislation.

    Liability for rates rests primarily with the owner. Bearing in mind that the rating unit is based on the concept of ownership, there is a direct link to the owner. There are, however, a few exceptions and transition provisions related to some leases. There are also variations in relation to multiply-owned Māori freehold land.

    How properties are rated is a local authority policy matter. Decisions on which rating tools are selected, and how they are applied, are left up to individual councils.

    General rates can be based on land value, capital value, or annual value – with or without differentials. The Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) can be applied per rating unit or per separately used or inhabited part of a rating unit.

    Differentials can be based on –

    • Property value.
    • Location.
    • Area.
    • Use.
    • Activities allowed for under the Resource Management Act.

    Targeted rates are designed to fund a function or group of functions. The funding can be from a specified group of ratepayers, and can be set on all rating units or on particular categories. They are very flexible tools. Factors which can be used for calculating targeted rates are –

    • Land value.
    • Improvement value.
    • Capital value.
    • Annual value.
    • Total land area.
    • Area of land, paved, sealed or built on.
    • Area of land protected.
    • Area of floor space of buildings.
    • Number of connections.
    • Number of water closets and urinals.
    • Number of separately used/inhabited parts.
    • Extent of provision of services.

    There is special provision for targeted rates for water supply based on metered consumption.

    Remissions and postponements can be on any property, to any extent, and for any reason – provided the local authority has adopted policies following consultation. A rates remission policy, under the LGA, must state the objectives to be achieved and the conditions and criteria for remissions.

    There is a clear link between processes for assessing and invoicing rates, with the objective of transparency and accountability – particularly the need for ratepayers to understand their liability for rates.

    For more information on this act please go to www.legislation.govt.nz.