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Communtity Law Manual | Māori land | Rates and Māori land

Rates and Māori land


Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, s 91

Rates must be paid on all Māori land, and all General land owned by Māori, unless the land comes under one of the exceptions in the rates legislation, or the local council decides to remit (not collect) or postpone collection of rates for the land.

Land that’s not rateable under the ratings legislation

Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, s 116; Schedule 1, Part 1, clauses 10–14

Rates don’t have to be paid for the following types of land:

  • Māori customary land
  • an area of land that’s used as an urupā (Māori burial ground)
  • an area of land that’s set aside for a marae or meeting place
  • land that’s been set aside as a Māori reservation for the common use and benefit of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand (but homes on reserved land can still be rated)
  • an area of Māori freehold land on which a meeting house has been built, and
  • Māori freehold land that has been specifically exempted from rates by an Order in Council, on the recommendation of the Māori Land Court.

Local councils can remit or postpone collection of rates

Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, ss 114, 115

Local councils can decide to remit (not collect) rates for particular Māori freehold land or to postpone collecting the rates for the land, if the council has adopted a policy on this and the particular land meets the criteria under the policy – for example, that it is unoccupied and earns no income.

You’ll need to contact the local council responsible for your lands to find out their rating policy for Māori land.

Major changes to rate rules introduced in July 2021

    On 1 July 2021, amendments to the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Act 2021 came into force. These changes are intended to enable easier use, occupation and development of Māori freehold land as well as stimulating development in the regions where these lands are mostly located.

    The major changes brought in by the Act will:

    • give local authorities (such as district and regional councils) the power to forgive rates that have not been paid on Māori land
    • stop rates from being charged on most land that is not being used
    • create a process for remitting rates on Māori land that is being developed
    • cause land blocks that used to be a single block to be treated as a single block again when applying rates
    • change the way rates are charged where there are multiple houses on one block of land to reduce the rates payable for low-income home owners
    • remove rates from marae land.

Note: Māori freehold land can’t be included in a rates sale (but General land owned by Māori may be). The local council must instead go through the court to gain rates arrears.

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