Rural rates increase ‘return to status quo’

Wedderburn farmer Stu Duncan. Photo: supplied
Wedderburn farmer Stu Duncan. Photo: supplied
Large proposed rates hikes for some Central Otago farmers actually represent a return to normal, a councillor and farmer says.

Average figures presented by the Central Otago District Council in its proposed 2021-31 long-term plan show a potential 37.3% increase for a farm in Maniototo, an average of $918.43 in the next year.

In Manuherikia that figure is 38.8% or $2158.

In the large farm category, Maniototo runholders could face a 52.5% or $9424 hike, while in Manuherikia that rates take may increase by an average of $5892 or 42.4%.

Central Otago District councillor and Maniototo farmer Stu Duncan said while the numbers expressed in percentage terms looked high, in dollar figures they were not and represented a return to the status quo.

Last year rates paid by farmers were decreased to reflect the cost of roading infrastructure,Cr Duncan said.

The increases were not a "big deal" in dollar terms when the scale of the properties concerned were considered and were also a return to the rates before farmers had been granted a reprieve to offset the cost of roading.

"There was a big reduction last year but it averages out over three years. I’m in the same position here."

Cr Duncan is a fourth generation farmer in the White Sow Valley, near Wedderburn.

The proposed rates were simply a levelling out, he said.

A Federated Farmers spokeswoman said the organisation’s Otago provincial branch had to yet to consult Central Otago’s members about proposed rates increases and the impact of them, if any.

Whether it not it would make a submission to the council’s long-term plan had yet to be decided, she said.

Feedback on the Long-term Plan 2021-31 closes on April 25.

Central Otago residents and ratepayers could have their say on council’s consultation document by filling in the online feedback form at www.codc.govt.nz/framing-our-future.

Those without online access could contact the council for a hard copy submission form.

jared.morgan@odt.co.nz

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