A key element in the Tararua District Council's draft annual plan is a rates increase averaging 4.20 per cent, above the 3.8 per cent indicated earlier.

And while the council's draft annual plan won't require formal consultation, as there are no significant changes from Year 2 of the adopted 2018/28 Long Term Plan, it intends engaging with the community up until May 10, to inform them of the key issues and significant projects.

Council finance manager Cameron McKay said a series of workshops had gone into building the engagement document which is at the heart of council's planning.

McKay also pointed out the average rate increase of 4.2 per cent is under the limit council had imposed of 4.3 per cent.


"This is quite a pleasing outcome given the challenges we face," he said.

"We have some regulatory reviews being undertaken by central government and we're not immune to climate change, but we've given ourselves resilience moving forward."

McKay said everyone was sharing the same rates burden, except for some very large property owners.

Akitio farmer Dan Ramsden is one of those property owners and is facing an average 17.3 per cent rates increase for the 2018/19 year, with some of his blocks attracting a 20 per cent increase.

"I don't earn 17 to 20 per cent extra from the properties and I realise there will be a number of other farmer facing much bigger increases," he told the Dannevirke News.

Ramsden said the way properties are valued "across the board" which includes his three properties, has him worried.

But despite the Tararua District Council rating, he has an even bigger rates burden from Horizons Regional Council which, for Moanaroa Station alone, have risen 23 per cent over last year.

"My land values have risen 1.34 per cent in the last 10 years, but my Horizons rates have gone up more than 50 per cent," he said.


However, Ramsden did concede the money TDC have spent on roads in his area is one rating benefit he gets to appreciate, but he wants logging contractors to pay a levy.

"There is a forest owner commodity levy, so why not a roading levy per tonne?" he asked.

Concerned with the number of farms "going into trees", displacing 40,000 sheep in his district, Ramsden also wants to know how our council will rate those properties in the future.

Last year the Government announced the Productivity Commission would investigate how councils can fund their activities most effectively and fairly, and in February this year released an issues paper which will inform an inquiry into local government funding and financing, with its report due in the middle of this year.

The move is welcomed by Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne who has said the system of local government rates sharing, based so heavily on property values, is broken.

The Tararua District Council was asked for figures regarding the numbers of property owners facing higher-than-average rate rises and the level of those increases, but these haven't been supplied.