Some ratepayers won't notice much difference, some will receive a pleasant surprise, and some are in for a nasty shock when the next Far North District Council rates demands start arriving in letter boxes.

It all depends where they live, and their new residential land valuations.

In general terms, a greater share of the rates burden is about to move east, although the biggest residential land value increases are at Kaeo, where the average soared from $75,184 in 2016 to $205,038 in 2019, possibly as a result of rising property values in Kerikeri encouraging buyers to look further afield.

Earlier this month the Far North District Council voted to increase its overall rates take by 2.23 per cent, down from the 3.94 per cent it had originally planned for 2020-21, thanks to the impact Covid-19 is expected to have on ratepayers' incomes. But there will be big variations in the increases faced by individual property owners. Those whose valuations have increased by less than 37 per cent will pay less than they did last year, while others will pay more, in some cases a lot more.

Advertisement

Kaeo will certainly pay more, while at the other end of the scale Kohukohu, where the average valuation increased by just 9 per cent, will pay less.

The impact of valuations is eased by the council's uniform annual charge, levied on every property equally, but they can have a significant effect. Most other charges, such as sewerage, roading, ward rates and a raft of regional council levies, are fixed, and are not affected by valuations.

The value of non-residential properties, such as commercial premises, farms and forests, have on average increased less than residential properties since 2016.

Increases in the average residential property valuations around the Far North are: Kaeo 173 per cent, Kaitaia/Awanui 73 per cent, Hihi 72 per cent, Kerikeri 53 per cent, Kawakawa 52 per cent, Moerewa 48 per cent, Rāwene 45 per cent, Ōkaihau 40 per cent, Paihia 37 per cent, Rangiputa/Whatuwhiwhi 34 per cent, Kaikohe 33 per cent, Doubtless Bay 30 per cent, Ōpononi/Ōmāpere 29 per cent, Ahipara 27 per cent, Whangaroa 24 per cent, Russell 22 per cent, Kohukohu 9 per cent.

The average in Kaitaia is now $65,833, in Kaikohe $53,339, and in Kerikeri $295,901. Russell still has the highest average, $460,282.

■ Go to www.fndc.govt.nz/Our-Services/Rates/Rating-information-database-new to check your rates before and after the property revaluation.Time for a fairer system?

****

The Far North District Council is planning a review of all its revenue, including rates, in a bid to make the rating system fairer and more consistent. The options include changing from land value to capital value, spreading the capital costs of sewerage and water schemes across all properties, restoring development contributions and reducing the commercial differential.

Advertisement

Whatever it might do, it won't come quick enough for Kerikeri businessman Bill Fenton and the more than 30 people who turned up at a public meeting he called to discuss pending rate increases in the town.

''We're dealing with a pandemic. People are struggling to recover their businesses without the council shoving rates up," he said, adding that business owners he had spoken to in Kerikeri and Waipapa were facing increases of 30-40 per cent.

While the council was required to carry out three-yearly valuations, Fenton said it could have opted for a zero overall rates increase, and could change the rate it charged on land value.

He also wanted the council to reduce its commercial differential of 2.75 times what is paid on residential properties.