The government officer in charge of property valuations will get involved in a court case over whether kiwifruit growers' Zespri licences should be counted when councils set their rates.
Growers objected when the Gisborne District Council said it would count the value of Zespri Z3 Gold kiwifruit licences as an "improvement" when setting three-yearly property valuations in 2020.
In the case of grower Tim Tietjen, the value of his 5.85ha kiwifruit orchard on Bushmere Rd, Gisborne, shot up from $1.65 million to $4.1m, with a corresponding rise in rates.
Tietjen, supported by NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, who feared other councils might do the same, took the matter as a test case to the Land Valuation Tribunal.
The growers argued the council was trying to gain extra revenue from increased valuations, leveraging off the commercial decisions of successful growers.
Tietjen won his case in the tribunal, but the Gisborne council then appealed to the High Court, which is due to hear the matter next month.
In the meantime, the High Court has allowed Valuer General Neill Sullivan to present evidence in the case between the council and Tietjen's Bushmere Trust.
Sullivan is the government official who oversees property valuation standards and maintains a roll of valuations for all the properties in New Zealand.
He has a statutory right to get involved, but the growers had opposed him giving new evidence.
High Court Justice David Gendall, however, ruled that Sullivan would be allowed to bring new evidence to the court.
"The new evidence in my view will enable this court on appeal to fully and properly consider the reasoning of the tribunal on the issue," Gendall said.
Gendall said it seemed the Valuer General supported the council's position.