Federated Farmers will again highlight the Central Hawke's Bay District Council's inequitable roading rate in its submission to the Long Term Plan.
CHB ratepayers are lumbered with a rate that disproportionately hammers farmers, as it has no differentials and is struck on land value.
A medium-value farm in the district will contribute $4212 towards roading. The farmer certainly does not receive a corresponding value for that money, especially when compared with an urban Waipukurau ratepayer's $207.
One of our members will be contributing a whopping $27,000 towards the roading rate alone this year. That's a lot of days out working for the council, let alone the taxman.
Since 2015, the amount of unsealed roads in CHB has reduced from 403km to 401km, so all that money is going towards maintenance.
CHB has struck the roading rate at 0.27 cents, which corresponds to $270 every $100,000 of land value.
A low land value for a property doesn't necessarily mean the ratepayer is short of money. The new Gull petrol station is on a commercial property with a land value of only $155,000 and is probably only paying $405 towards the roading rate.
It might be argued that farmers generate heavy traffic and a lot of wear and tear on the district's roads, and that is why they should pay more.
However, this is already accounted for through road user charges and fuel taxes, which are re-allocated back to the council from NZTA via the Funding Assistance Rate.
So the trucks that visit the farm property are already paying for the kilometres they drive to collect the farmer's produce and take it to processing facilities.
Federated Farmers' solution to this roading rate problem is to take up a rating system that other councils have used successfully. A differential system like Hastings District Council, or a hybrid funding model with a flat fee to reduce reliance on the land value rate like Kapiti Coast District Council, would go a long way towards reducing the inequity.
Rhea Dasent is a senior policy adviser for Federated Farmers