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Auckland Council

Rates remission (reduction) for Māori freehold land

Murunga reiti whenua Māori tū motuhake

What is Māori freehold land?

Māori freehold land (MFL) is land that has had its beneficial ownership determined by the Māori Land Court by freehold order.

The policy aims to support Māori to:

  • retain ownership of land in line with tikanga Māori values
  • use the land in a way that aligns with spiritual and cultural values
  • assess rates charges that recognise the limitations on the use, development, and sale of MFL compared to other land.

Conditions and criteria

The policy allows us to remit (reduce) the rates on MFL that has multiple owners.

The policy will also apply to other types of Māori land that has multiple owners, including land returned under settlement, and land converted from Māori freehold land title under the Māori Affairs Act 1967, where we consider it just and equitable to do so.

The policy is not available for land that is:

  • not owned by Māori
  • commercially leased or is not held in accordance with tikanga Māori values
  • used for purposes which do not align with the purpose of the policy.

Land returned due to treaty settlement will not generally be eligible for remission under the policy.

We may consider a remission for the land, or part of the land, where it is:

  • used and protected for cultural, historic or natural conservation purposes or because it is wāhi tapu(under Part 1 of the policy)
  • used for a marae or urupā (under Part 3 of the policy).

 Part 1 - Remissions for undeveloped or unused MFL

​A property is eligible for a remission under part 1 of the policy if the land, or part of the land, is undeveloped and unused.

This means that no one:

  • leases the land
  • resides on the land
  • de-pastures or maintains livestock on the land
  • uses the land in any other way that is not related to:
    • the maintenance of the cultural traditions associated with the land, including visiting, cultural use, whānau camping, and the collection of kai, kaimoana, medicinal and cultural material
    • maintaining or improving the natural or historic heritage value of the land.

This scheme includes wāhi tapu sites and land that has been set aside and protected for cultural, historic or natural conservation purposes.

A qualifying rating unit will be eligible for a 100 per cent remission of rates on the land that is undeveloped and unused.

 Part 2 - Remission to adjust Māori rateable land values

​We will consider remission for land that:
  • is valued for a highest and best use that in our view is unlikely to be achieved within Māori ownership
  • has development and use issues due to the nature of its ownership, e.g. owners are deceased with no living family, but the land does not already qualify for the maximum rateable valuation adjustment of 10 per cent of the land value (valuer general).

If an application is approved under this scheme we will request its valuation service provider to determine a rates-remission value of the land.

The rates remission land value will be assessed as follows:

For land that has a best potential use that in the view of the council is unlikely to be achieved within Māori ownership

The land will be valued to exclude any potential for subdivision and/or development that the land may have that is unlikely to be achieved in Māori ownership.

The rates remission land value will be prepared to preserve uniformity and equitable relativity with comparable parcels of land whose valuation does not contain any such potential value for subdivision and/or development.

For land that has significant impediments to development and use due to the nature of its ownership, such as owners being deceased and not succeeded to

The rates remission land value will be calculated as if the maximum valuation adjustment of 10 per cent had been applied.

A property may be eligible for one or both of these adjustments to the rates remission land value.

For properties that qualify for both adjustments, the rates remission land value will be an assessment of the net effect of both adjustments.

The remission for any rating period will be an amount equal to the difference between the amount of the rates for that period calculated according to the rateable land value of the property and the amount of the rates that would be payable for that period if the rates remission land value of the property were its rateable land value.

No objection to the amount of any rate remission or rates remission land value determined by the council and its valuation service provider will be upheld.

 Part 3 - Remission for marae and urupā greater than 2ha in size

​Under the Local Government Rating Act 2002, land used for marae and urupā is non-rateable, for a maximum land area of 2ha.

Under this scheme, we will remit 100 per cent of the rates, excluding any rate levied for a service actually provided to the rating unit (e.g. a rubbish bin), for land exceeding the 2ha limit for non-rateability that is used for a:

  • marae, including land used for access, parking, curtilage marā kai, whānau hopuni and land used for customary practice, cultural use, wānanga, recreational and arts facilities.

  • urupā.

We will not apply a remission for land used for commercial or other private benefit, private residential housing, or which is covered by a liquor licence.

Where a property has qualifying and non-qualifying uses, we will apportion the rates remission for the part of land that qualifies for remission under this scheme.

 Part 4 - Remission for Māori land used for non-commercial purposes for the community benefit of Māori

​Part 4 caps the rates paid on land that is used for non-commercial purposes for the community benefit of Māori.

A property is eligible for a remission under part 4 of the policy if the land, or part of the land, is used for non-commercial purposes for the community benefit of Māori (including papakāinga housing, community facilities, marae and associated infrastructure).

For eligible rating units, we will remit the part of the rating unit’s rates that are attributable to its land value.

 Part 5 - Remission of previous years’ rates arrears on Māori land

​The remission of the historical rates arrears removes barriers that may stop owners developing the land and encourages them to start paying the rates.

A property is eligible for a remission of the previous years’ rates arrears under part 5 of the policy, if the owners pay the current year’s rates for three years.

If the annual rates are paid for three years, the previous years’ arrears, along with the arrears penalties, will be remitted.

How to apply for this remission

  • You must specify whether you are applying for a remission under part 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 of the policy.
  • The application should state how the remission will support the policy and how the property fits within them.
  • For the rates to be remitted (reduced) we may request evidence each year (statutory declaration), to confirm that the rating unit still complies with the conditions and criteria of the policy.
  • We can apply for a remission on behalf of the ratepayer if the property meets all the criteria.
  • We reserve the right to request further information. For example, a Memorial Schedule of Owners, if we think it’s necessary.
  • The remission will apply from the beginning of the rating period in which the application is approved and will not be backdated to prior years.

Call us on 09 301 0101 if you have any questions, or write to us requesting a remission of rates under this policy.

​Post your request, along with all supporting documents, to:

Auckland Council
Private Bag 92300
Victoria Street
Auckland 1142

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