Not being eligible for a rates rebate is annoying Whanganui man Ron Pocock.

He has lived in his Springvale house for eight years, but transferred its ownership to his two daughters in case he needed expensive rest home care and government took the value of the property to pay for it.

The transfer was made over several years, by gifting to a family trust. His solicitor advised him to do it.

Until three years ago Pocock could apply for a rates rebate. Two years ago, "out of the blue", he was told he could only get a rebate if his name was on the property title.


Department of Internal Affairs policy had changed and Whanganui District Council had followed suit.

Last year he went to then-Whanganui MP Chester Borrows about it. Borrows' secretary called Whanganui District Council and was told the rebate would be available again by this year.

"I went this year. Bang. Same situation," Pocock said.

Not being able to blip $630 off his rates doesn't worry him much. But he feels sorry for people on low incomes.

"I can appreciate that for people just on a straight pension it will be a burden to them. Another $15 a week in the kitty can be very nice."

He said it took two years to change legislation so that people in retirement villages, who pay rates and don't have their names on property titles, can get a rates rebate. It could be another two years before his own situation is addressed.

"How long is it going to take? Why did Internal Affairs change the rules like that? Everything was going very nicely," he said.

His new partner is in a better situation. Her property is also in a family trust, but her name is on the trust deed and she can apply for a rates rebate.