Federated Farmers Submission for Matamata Piako District Council Long Term Plan

Federated Farmers disputes Matamata-Piako District Council's (MPDC) justification of their funding policies using the ‘rates are just a form of tax’ argument. Land and capital value constitute a narrow and inappropriate basis for taxation to fund modern local government and its wide range of services to the whole community. Council’s position suggests they have no obligation to consider the fairness of rates allocation to individual properties or sectors. This is simply not the case –every tax has underlying rules and considerations, and fairness is one fundamental aim of any taxation system - local government’s rates are no exception.

MPDC’s desire for a simple funding system, which does not make use of the full range of options available, means that properties with no or limited access to council services are paying double to 4 times more than those properties who are connected to them.

Federated Farmers asks MPDC to seriously consider the recommendations in this submission as in our view they identify how the funding polices can be improved for the benefit of rural ratepayers by enhancing principles of fairness and equity. There are real concerns that these principles are being seriously compromised by Council’s continued over reliance on property value based general rates.

Federated Farmers is surprised by MPDC’s blasé approach to the value of transparency within a rating system. MPDC essentially states in Section 8 Policies (page 238), that they prefer to use the property based general rate as much as possible because it keeps things simple and that individuals don’t really need to know in any meaningful detail what their rates contribution is actually used for. We are told by MPDC that rates don’t necessarily reflect the benefit received and targeted rates can inflate individual expectations about the level of benefit they should be receiving.