Waitomo District Council seeks payment of unpaid rates on abandoned land

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

All General Land is liable for the payment of property rates, according to the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (the Act). The only exception to that rule is where the land meets the criteria set out in the Act, in that case, the property is classified as “non-rateable” for the purposes the Act.

Waitomo District Council (WDC) has commenced with the process of declaring some land as abandoned, under the Act. A total of 21 properties with overdue rates totalling around $366,000 have been identified as potentially abandoned land. These significant rate arrears have remained unpaid for a very long time. Numerous attempts have been made to locate the owners so they can address the arrears, however, WDC has not been able to locate the owner(s).

WDC wants to clarify that the land identified as potentially abandoned is not Maori land. It is abandoned land held under General Land classification, as recorded with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).  WDC obtains the information regarding the classification from LINZ; the classification is not made by Council.

As part of the legal process, WDC published the public notices to encourage any person with an ownership interest to come forward to address the unpaid rates arrears. Click here (PDF, 632 Kb) to view the public notice.

WDC invests time and effort into the collection of rates arrears because it is considered fair to all other property owners who do pay their rates on time that rates arrears are recovered.

To date we have had some success as a result of the public notice, with owners coming forward and clearing the outstanding rates arrears. Some of them have been unaware that they or their family members are actual owners of the property.

Anyone who wishes to discuss outstanding rates arrears on abandoned land is encouraged to contact WDC on 0800 932 4357, or to visit the Queen Street Office, Te Kuiti.