May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

District Council seeks to rate houses (as opposed to whenua plots) – Calling for submissions

4 min read

We’ve received wordfrom whanau in Whakatane that the District Council is planningto rate each house instead of each whenua plot. There was an overwhelming response from hapu and iwi to go against this – but it is still going ahead. The hope is that people will read this and begin informing whanau of what is happening by passing this information on to people who might be affected, or you live or are associated with theWhakatanecatchment,or you know people who can help clarify this issue for us via hui or panui.

WhakataneDistrictPlanFLast year Whakatane Council proposed that each dwelling on land – whether it was general or papakainga would be rated seperately also known as the Separately Use or Inhabitable Parts of a Rating Unit (SUIPs). See the attached file – pg 2.The gist of this issue is that most of the submissions at Murupara last year were against thisand this extended out across the rohe. Yet – the council are still going to go ahead with this – the residents will be affected as of next year.

Experience from observing the the submissions process in Murupara last year suggested that many of the whanau living in Waiohau, Murupara, Te Whaiti and Ruatahunawere unitedagainst this. The korero by many pakeke and young people against SUIPS was overwheling. Why?

These were some of the issues highlighted:

  • We are a collective people and so we have collective living arrangements. A whanau with 3-4 dwellings on one title will mean that instead of one rate being paid – 3 or 4 lots of rates will be collected. Thiswill place financial burdenon the person whose name is on the council file as the title holder??
  • The reason the dwelllings are set upcommunally is because they cannot afford to live in cities, or they want to go back to help out at home
  • Most of the people living in these situations are unemployed and are also kaitiaki of our marae and whenua. This will place stress on our kaitiaki.
  • This practice will discourage our people wanting to return home
  • The services currently provided by the councildo not warrant an increase in rates from the rohe as a whole
  • Our people are finding it hard enough to pay rates now – anyextra rates to paywill add pressure to the whanau as a whole (and what many fear a possible loss of land)

Is there a document which has all of our feedback to the council on one paper by diffferent iwi because this will help us to pick up issues we didnt pick up before and it will help our own boards, committees and leaders from each rohe to prepare our people.

Anyway this is my own simple understanding of what is going on…we need to fill out the submissions

What kinds of issues can be reviewed? Are there any others?

Modifying the definition of ‘seperate use’ or ‘inhabitable parts’ – what about homes used for tangihanga, whanau gatherings only?

  • The rate is to charge for the extra services that each dwelling uses – is that based on someone who uses their home everyday? is it based on a household who gets their water through tanks, or whose roads have not been upgraded in years? is it based on a household who has no readily available access to the library (which closes before work ends) or the swimming pool
  • Does this definition take into account whanau who have no vehicle to get to council services which are at least half an hour drive away? Those whanau who are already on rates rebate – are normally the pakeke with their names on the title. It is often their children or uri who are use any other dwellings – so if their kids do not or cannot pay their rates – is it the name on the title that receives the bill?

We need further information about what it means for our people staying at home, and those living outside who wish to return home. What is a dwelling? Who will be affected? How much will each dwelling pay? How will these changes affect our people? If rates are not paid – do they lose their land or dwelling?? These are some of the questions we need to ask our iwi liaison officers, representatives or community boards.

The submissions are due by April 27th. Click on the link above and let all our whanau know.

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