Rating burden relieved to support whenua Māori use

The Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill has had its First Reading in Parliament. 

“The proposed changes detailed in the Bill are a significant step forward in reducing rating barriers for Māori landowners, stimulating regional development and providing consistency around the rating of Māori land”, says Minister Nanaia Mahuta. 

Minister Mahuta, responsible for Māori Development and Local Government, made the announcement about the proposed changes to the rating of whenua Māori in Northland last month.  

“The current system fails to adequately address the unique legal arrangements around Māori land and its constraints. Multiple ownership of Māori land and the fragmentation of land interests over the generations has meant significant tracts of Māori land remain unused and many of the blocks carry historic rates arrears. 

As announced on 2 February 2020, the key changes detailed in the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill are: 

  1. Local authority chief executives will have the power to write-off unrecoverable rate arrears on any land; including rates debts inherited from deceased owners of Māori land. 
  2. Most unused Māori land will be non-rateable; this will remove rates arears debt on unused Māori land. 
  3. Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata – Māori land that has been set aside for conservation purposes will be non-rateable. 
  4. A statutory rates remission process will be available for Māori land under development, offering rates relief and encouraging development. 
  5. Māori homeowners on Māori land will be able to choose to be rated individually which may make low income Māori home-owners eligible for rates rebates; and will simplify the administration of rates where there are multiple homes on one block of Māori land; and
    Local authorities will be able to treat multiple Māori land blocks from the same parent block as one for rating purposes; which will reduce the overall rating liability and make development of this land more economic. 

The rating changes are an extension of the Government’s Whenua Māori Programme, which includes amendments to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, and are part of the Government’s wider commitment to supporting whānau development through whenua.  

“Public submissions on the Bill will be called for shortly. If the Bill progresses through Parliament in 2020, the changes in the Bill will come into force no later than 1 July 2021. 

“In making these changes, we are tackling some long-standing roadblocks which will help accelerate the use and development of Māori land. The changes will also provide greater clarity around the rating of Māori land for whānau and local authorities”, says Minister Mahuta.

Editor’s Note : A copy of the Bill is available on the New Zealand Legislation website and general information for owners of whenua Māori and local authorities can be found on the Te Puni Kōkiri and Department of Internal Affairs websites.

He hīkina taumahatanga reti hei tautoko whakamahinga whenua Māori

I Pānuitia Tuatahitia ki te Whare Pāremata i te rangi nei te Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill.

“He mea nui ngā huringa i te Pire ki te whakahekenga o ngā āhuatanga reti e ārai atu ana i te kaipupuri whenua Māori, te whakahihiko i te whanaketanga ā-rohe, me te whakaōritenga o ngā reti mō te whenua Māori,” te kī a te Minita Nanaia Mahuta. 

I puta te kōrero i a Minita Mahuta, Minita mō te whanaketanga Māori me te Kāwanatanga ā-Rohe, mō ngā huringa ki ngā reti o ngā whenua Māori e kōrerotia nei i Te Tai Tokerau.

“Kāore e taea ana e te pūnaha o nāianei te whakatutuki ngā whakaritenga ā-ture tino ahurei nei e pā ana ki te whenua Māori me ōna here. Nā runga i te kaipupuritanga o te whenua, me te wehewehenga o ngā pānga whenua i roto i ngā whakatipuranga kua noho hāhā, kāore e whakamahia ana te whenua Māori, ngā wāhanga nui hoki, ka mutu, kei te noho nama te nuinga i raro i ngā reti o ngā rā kua pahure ake nei.”

I pānuitia i te 2 Huitanguru 2020 ngā huringa matua, ā, kua whakarārangihia ki te Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill:

  • 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 pire reti e heke mai ana i ngā kaipupuri kua mate o te whenua Māori;
  • E kore e rehitahia te nuinga o ngā whenua Māori kāore e whakamahia ana; mā konei ka tangohia te nama reti i runga i ngā whenua kāore e whakamahia ana;
  • Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata – E kore e taea ngā whenua kua waiho mō ngā take papa atawhai te reti;
  • Ka wātea mai he tukanga whakahoki reti ā-ture mō ngā whenua Māori e whanaketia ana, mā te hekenga o ngā reti me te akiaki i te whanaketanga;
  • Kia taea ai e ngā kaipupuri whenua i runga i te whenua Māori te whiriwhiri kia rēhitatia ā-kiri mā konei e wātea ai ngā kaipupuri whenua kāore he nui te pūtea te tono i ngā whakahokinga reti; e whakamāmā hoki te whakahaere o ngā reti ina he nui ngā kāinga i runga i te poraka whenua Māori kotahi; ā,
  • E taea ai e ngā mana whenua te titiro ki ngā poraka whenua Māori tuatini mai i te poraka matua tonu, anō nei kotahi te poraka whenua Māori mō te reti; mā konei e heke te kawenga reti katoa, ka nui ake ngā hua ā-ōhanga. 

He wāhanga ngā huringa reti o te Kaupapa Whenua Māori a te Kāwanatanga, me ōna whakahoutanga ki Te Ture Whenua Māori 1993, ka mutu, he wāhanga tēnei o te ngākaunui o te Kāwanatanga ki te tautoko i te whanaketanga o te whānau mā te whenua.

“Ākuanei ka karangahia ngā tono ki te Pire. Ki te haere tonu te Pire i roto i te Pāremata i te tau 2020, ka mana ngā huringa ki te Pire hei te 1 Hōngongoi 2021. 

“I te whakamanatanga o ngā huringa, ka whakatikangia ngā ārai hei āwhina i te whakapikinga o te whakamahinga me te whanaketanga o te whenua Māori.  Mā ēnei huringa e mārama ake te retitanga o ngā whenua Māori mā te whānau me ngā mana ā-rohe,” te kī a Minita Mahuta. 

Ngā Taipitopito a te Etita: Kei te wātea he kape o te Pire i runga i te paetukutuku a New Zealand Legilsation, e kitea ai hoki ngā pārongo whānui mā ngā kaipupuri whenua Māori me ngā mana ā-rohe ki ngā paetukutuku o Te Puni Kōkiri me te Tari Taiwhenua.