This policy aims to provide guidance to local governments on the legislative requirements governing the giving of notice on rates.
This applies to the imposition of differential rates and to minimum payments.
Legislative Provision – Local Government Act 1995
6.36. Local government to give notice of certain rates
- Before imposing any differential general rates or a minimum payment applying to a differential rate category under section 6.35(6)(c) a local government is to give local public notice of its intention to do so
- A local government is required to ensure that a notice referred to in subsection (1) is published in sufficient time to allow compliance with the requirements specified in this section and section 6.2(1).
- A notice referred to in subsection (1):
- may be published within the period of 2 months preceding the commencement of the financial year to which the proposed rates are to apply on the basis of the local government’s estimate of the budget deficiency; and
- is to contain:
- details of each rate or minimum payment the local government intends to impose; and
- an invitation for submissions to be made by an elector or a ratepayer in respect of the proposed rate or minimum payment and any related matters within 21 days (or such longer period as is specified in the notice) of the notice;
- any further information in relation to the matters specified in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) which may be prescribed;
- is to advise electors and ratepayers of the time and place where a document describing the objects of, and reasons for, each proposed rate and minimum payment may be inspected
- The local government is required to consider any submissions received before imposing the proposed rate or minimum payment with or without modification.
- Where a local government:
- in an emergency, proposes to impose a supplementary general rate or specified area rate under section 6.32(3)(a); or
- proposes to modify the proposed rates or minimum payments after considering any submissions under subsection (4), it is not required to give local public notice of that proposed supplementary general rate, specified area rate, modified
rate or minimum payment.
Sections referred to in 6.36:
1.7. Local public notice
- Where under this Act local public notice of a matter is required to be given, a notice of the matter is to be:
- published in a newspaper circulating generally throughout the district; and
- exhibited to the public on a notice board at the local government’s offices; and
- exhibited to the public on a notice board at every local government library in the district.
- Unless expressly stated otherwise it is sufficient if the notice is:
- published under subsection (1)(a) on at least one occasion; and
- exhibited under subsection (1)(b) and (c) for a reasonable time, being not less than:
- the time prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph; or
- if no time is prescribed, 7 days.
6.35 Minimum payment (extract)
- For the purposes of this section a minimum payment is to be applied separately, in accordance with the principles set forth in subsections (2), (3) and (4) in respect of each of the following categories:
- to land rated on gross rental value; and
- to land rated on unimproved value; and
- to each differential rating category where a differential general rate is imposed.
6.2 Local government to prepare annual budget (extract)
- During the period from 1 June in a financial year to 31 August in the next financial year, or such extended time as the Minister allows, each local government is to prepare and adopt*, in the form and manner prescribed, a budget for its
municipal fund for the financial year ending on the 30 June next following that 31 August.
*Absolute majority required.
Interpretation Act 1984
61. Time, computation of
- In computing time for the purposes of a written law:
- where anything is to be done within a time before a specified day, the time shall not include that day;
- If a local government intends to apply differential rates or set minimum payments, it must advertise its intention to do so in a paper that is available locally and at the local government offices and at every local library. (s.1.7) This
is to give ratepayers the opportunity to comment.
- The public notice process should be started on 1 May or shortly thereafter (assuming a June 30 financial year). (s.6.36(3)(a))
- Every differential general rate and/or minimum payment that is intended to be imposed must be stated in the notice. (s.6.36(3)(b)(ii)) Local public notice is not required for specified area rates.
- A document must be prepared which states the objects of, and reasons for, each rate and minimum payment. That is, this should justify why one rate differs from another rate in each land valuation category (that is, each separately rated
category within UV and GRV). A global statement addressing all categories or rates is insufficient. (s.6.36(3)(c)) This is so ratepayers can understand the council’s logic in arriving at each rate.
- The public notice must state the time and place that this document is available. (s.6.36(3)(b)(ii)) A reference to a contact person or email is insufficient.
- It must also invite submissions. (s.6.36(b)(ii))
- The notice must state the closing date for submissions. (s.6.36(3)(b)(ii))
- The minimum period that ratepayers have to make submissions is 21 days. The day after the day of publication is the first day. For example, if the notice appears on 1 May, submissions must be able to be made until at least 22 May.
- The submissions received must be considered by the local government (council) before the rates are imposed. (s.6.36(4)) Note, however, that if ministerial approval is required (see below) this must be received before the rates are
- A local government (council) can modify the rates after considering any submissions received. (s.6.36(4)) If changes are made as a result of consideration of the submissions, these do not have to be readvertised. (s.6.36(5))
- If a local government imposes a differential general rate or minimum payment that differs from the rate set out in the public notice, the Local Government (Financial Management) Regulations 1996 provide that it must:
- Include details of the rate or minimum payment advertised and reasons for the difference in the annual budget; and
- Include details of the rate or minimum payment advertised and reasons for the difference in the rate notice or in a document accompanying the rate notice.
- If it is proposed to impose differential rates for either Unimproved Value or Gross Rental Value (or both) such that the rate for one or more categories is more than twice that of the lowest category (s.6.33), or minimum payments for vacant land that
apply to more than 50% of the properties in that category (s.6.35), Ministerial approval is required. You must build in sufficient time between the close of submissions and the council’s budget meeting to allow the Minister to properly
assess and make a decision on the proposal. (s.6.36(2)) If all the necessary information is provided, this is a minimum of two weeks.
- Refer to Policy Documents on Differential Rates and Minimum Payments for details of the documentation to be provided with the request for Ministerial approval.
- Ministerial approval must be obtained before the council meeting which adopts the budget or the budget is invalid and rates imposed are not recoverable and can be quashed by the State Administrative Tribunal (s. 6.82).