Recently I saw the Minister for the Environment Hon David Parker react to the Horticultural growers on TV1. Horticulture New Zealand is getting increasingly concerned that valuable horticultural land is being swallowed up by housing or lifestyle blocks.
For ages I have had in my mind that local rates should always be struck on the basis of land values not capital values. So I wrote the following letter to the Minister for the Environment. It was easy to find his email but I don’t expect a reply for ages.
Letter to d.parker 28 April, 2019
I am delighted you have stated you would like to protect soils that can grow vegetables.
As someone who spent three years on a 3ha lifestyle block in Otaki I can say that our rates were very similar to rates on a half acre property in the Otaki village. This seemed to be wrong. It makes it easy for lifestylers to waste valuable growing land.
This is a suggestion:
Make sure the rates are levied on land values. The fact that councils can by law choose between rating on capital value or on land value is wrong. Councils should be forced to rate on land values which is less regressive.
It protects valuable land, and encourages compact cities. It has been the legacy of neoliberal economics to train council officers to recommend rating on capital values. Local politicians rarely give a thought to the underlying principles of rating system these days. Tragic.
I know other factors will be involved like the effect of zoning, but I also know this is a critical issue for New Zealanders future and I greatly respect you as a good thinker who sincerely wants the best for the most.