Federated Farmers is bitterly disappointed its proposal that the registration fee for three or more working dogs be halved has been rejected by Kaipara District Council staff.
KDC says a reduction in fees by 50 per cent is "not practical or affordable" as it will result in a loss of revenue of $10,824, adding further financial pressure at a time the council was bringing animal control services in-house.
Fed Farmers proposed as part of KDC's annual review of its fees and charges for the 2019/20 financial year that the registration fee for three or more working dogs be reduced to $22.
"The submission was made on the basis that farm dogs have a lower impact than other dogs on council resources and facilities because they are domiciled and work well away from urban areas," Fed Farmers senior policy advisor Richard Gardner said in his submission to KDC.
He said farmers were responsible and professional dog owners.
There are 1700 working dogs in Kaipara, including 492 that would attract a reduced fee if Fed Farmers proposal was agreed upon.
Currently it costs $44 to register each working dog in Kaipara and council staff has proposed Councillors vote at their meeting on Thursday to maintain the status quo.
President of Northland Federated Farmers, John Blackwell, said KDC has missed a golden opportunity to lower the working dog registration fees for sheep and beef farmers in particular.
"Bitterly disappointing because we're paying for the Mangawhai sewerage system, we're paying a lot towards roads damaged by the forestry sector and in my 58 years living here, the roads haven't been in such a poor state," he said.
Blackwell said Fed Farmers made a similar proposal to the Far North District Council last year and asked that two or more working dogs should attract a 50 percent rebate.
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Instead, FNDC offered the sixth dog registration free.
The present charge is $60 for each desexed working dog and $70 for non-desexed one.
The Whangārei District Council charges $52 to register each of its 1141 working dogs and does not offer discounted fees.
Blackwell said he expected Fed Farmers to make similar submissions to WDC whenever it next reviewed its fees and charges.
KDC said its working dog registration fees were comparative with neighbouring councils.
The fee is $46 in Gisborne, $50 in Whakatane and $87 in Tauranga.
Grant West has seven working dogs on his beef and sheep farm in Tangiteroria, 32km southwest of Whangarei, and said setting an appropriate fee for the animals was tricky.
"What we pay for working dogs is not exorbitant but I can see where Fed Farmers are coming from. It's another form of tax. Kaipara's got no money after the Mangawhai (wastewater) fiasco.
"I don't know what we're getting out of paying for the dog registration... probably nothing.
"That's on top of $15,000 a year we pay in rates. Bigger farms pay more," West said.
Omana beef and sheep farmer Bryan Robinson has 10 working dogs and pays $440 a year but said he got "absolutely nothing" in return from KDC, except a plastic tag with a number on it.
"I reckon for older working dogs seven years or above, their registration fee should be halved. The same for dogs less than two years old because we don't know whether they can work as working dogs later on."
KDC said dog registration fees has not increased since 2018 with no proposal for a hike in the next financial year.
A spate of complaints about wandering dogs has prompted KDC to ditch its contractor Armourguard and bring animal, noise and parking control services in-house from March next year or earlier.
Armourguard won't enforce rules around animal and noise control, and parking in Kaipara after more than 300 complaints of wandering dogs from ratepayers in Dargaville since July last year.
Therefore, KDC said there would be an additional cost over what has currently being proposed for the 2019/20 budget and any reduction in revenue for dogs would add further financial pressure.
Facts on registration of working dogs in Northland
* 492 of the 1700 registered working dogs in Kaipara would have attracted a 50 per cent discount
* KDC will lose $10,824 in revenue if fees halved
* Present charge in Kaipara is $44 for early registration and $66 if you're late
* Whangarei District Council charges $52 per working dog registration, no discount
* No charge from the sixth dog in the Far North District