$15,397 unpaid rates write-off

More than $15,000 of rates arrears is expected to be written off as unrecoverable by the Clutha District Council at its corporate services committee meeting today.

Since 2001 the council has decided to shelve rates arrears on the multiple-owner land for auditing purposes.

Chief executive officer Steve Hill said the approach was common for councils across New Zealand and the amount of money was ''minor in the scheme of things'' for the district.

The council would need to take action against each owner individually and with up to 200 owners per parcel of land, it would cost more to collect arrears than what was owed.

The debt exists for six years, but is not acted upon unless the land generates income.

When the land was productive the council could collect rates off the generated income, rates property officer Pauline Ellis said.

''In the past there have been two huge logging exercises,'' she said.

''And we've recovered that six years on, both those parcels.''

As rates rise across the district, the amount uncollected has risen.

The corporate services committee decided total rates arrears of $11,481.50 on 21 blocks of Maori-owned land should be written off in 2011.

The total outstanding rates for 22 blocks of multiple-owner Maori land to June 30, 2013, was $14,436.47, the total outstanding to June 30, 2014, was $15,397.64.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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