Tue, Jul 27, 2021 4:08 AM

Rates jump by more than 10 per cent for some as land values soar

The Marlborough District Council approved a 5.1 per cent rates increase last month. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR.

Chloe Ranford

Surging land values are to blame for some double-digit rates increases across Marlborough.

Marlborough District Council chief financial officer Martin Fletcher says homeowners can expect their rates to increase more than the 5.1 per cent set by the council if their land value has jumped higher than the regional average.

“If your property did not change during revaluations, then roughly all you will see is a rates increase of 5.1 per cent.”

Martin gave councillors a run-down of the relationship between revaluations and this year's rates bills at a planning, finance and communities meeting last week.

Land values are revalued every three years to help councils set rates. The cost of land has risen by about 25 per cent in Marlborough, between 2017 and 2020.

Ratepayers in Blenheim, Picton, Grovetown and Ngakuta Bay are the worst hit by the “major valuation movements”, with some staring down the barrel of a 15.6 per cent increase.

Martin says one of the council's benchmark properties in Blenheim is set to face a 10.5 per cent rates rise this year after its land rose 46 per cent in value, from $185,000 to $270,000. This is $290 more in rates than last year.

A benchmark Grovetown property is getting a 15.6 per cent hike.

Case examples in Picton, Ngakuta Bay and the Wairau Valley also have rates increases this year of between 9 per cent and 11 per cent, or an extra $110 to $325 a year.

Land prices have increased in each of Marlborough's six rating areas. Graphic: Chloe Ranford/LDR.
Land prices have increased in each of Marlborough's six rating areas. Graphic: Chloe Ranford/LDR.

“The biggest single answer for why people’s rates have been going up by the 10 per cents is revaluation,” he says.

Meanwhile, a homeowner in Opouri Valley, in the Marlborough Sounds, will this year see a $1840 drop in rates after their land value fell from $2.9 million to $2.8m.

Councillor Mark Peters says the revaluations do not generate any additional rates' income for the council, set at $75m this year, but do change how rates were spread out.

Councillor Francis Maher says the rating system is a “dog”.

“No-one likes rates, but anyone that's stood on a stop bank in the last week or so would be very, very happy to have paid their rates, especially if they're in a flood-prone area.”

Properties will next be revalued in 2023.

Homeowners can look up this year’s rates increases at www.marlborough.govt.nz/services/rates/rates-search.