I hereby give notice that an ordinary meeting of the Rural Advisory Panel will be held on:



Meeting Room:



Friday, 4 September 2015


Rooms 1 & 2, Level 26
135 Albert Street

Rural Advisory Panel






Cr Bill Cashmore

Franklin Ward Councillor

Deputy Chairperson South

Alan Cole

Franklin Local Board Member

Deputy Chairperson North

Thomas Grace

Rodney Local Board Member


Marie Appleton

Rural Women NZ


Bill Bourke

Aggregate & Quarry Assoc


Wendy Clark

Federated Farmers


Viv Dostine

Northern Equine


Trish Fordyce

NZ Forest Owners Assoc


Richard Gardner

Federated Farmers


Chris Keenan

Horticulture NZ


Brian Mason

Landowners & Contractors Protection Assoc Inc


Callum McCallum

Aquaculture Industry


Andrew McKenzie

Beef and Lamb NZ


Bill Millar



Helen Moodie

Dairy NZ


Roger Parton

Rural Contractors NZ and

Aggregate & Quarry Assoc


Geoff Smith

Equine Industry


Peter Spencer

NZ Forest Owners Association


Bronwen Turner

Western Rural Property Owners


Keith Vallabh

Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Assoc


Cr Penny Webster

Rodney Ward Councillor


Glenn Wilcox

Independent Māori Statutory Board

Alternate (for Alan Cole)

Jill Naysmith

Franklin Local Board Member

(Quorum 10 members)



Rosie Judd

Democracy Services Graduate


28 August 2015


Contact Telephone: (09) 890 8661

Email: Rosie.Judd@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz







·         To identify and communicate to the Council the interest and preferences of the rural based industries and rural communities of Auckland in relation to:


-       the content of the strategies, policies, plans, and bylaws of the Council, and

-   any matter that the Panel considers to be of particular interest or concern to the rural based industries and rural communities of Auckland.


·         To advise the Mayor and the Council’s Governing Body and local boards, of the Council processes and mechanisms for engagement with the rural based industries and communities in Auckland.


·         To deliver recommendations for accelerating the social, economic, environmental and cultural performance of the rural part of the Auckland Council region.





To provide a forum for consideration of issues affecting the rural part of the Auckland Council area and recommendations to Council including (but not limited to):


·           Driving economic growth

·           Food and fibre production and associated food and beverage processing (value adding) and equine based activities

·           Research and development support

·           Environmental resource issues including quarrying and aggregate production

·           Ecological, landscape and coastal values

·           Service delivery

·           Rural infrastructure, including transport

·           Biosecurity

·           Amenities and open space

·           Transport

·           Rating.




Rural Advisory Panel

04 September 2015



ITEM   TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                        PAGE

1          Apologies                                                                                                                        5

2          Declaration of Interest                                                                                                   5

3          Confirmation of Minutes                                                                                               5

4          Extraordinary Business                                                                                                5

5          Ballance Farm Environment Awards (12.40 – 12.45pm)

            Phil Brown, Land and Water Advisory Team Manager.

6          Auckland Council Investments Ltd (ACIL) - ACIL's objectives for 2015/16, performance to date and objectives for subsequent years (12.45 – 1.15pm)

Auckland Council Investments Ltd Chief Executive, Gary Swift.

7          Review of farm/lifestyle rates (1.15 – 1.45pm)                                                            7

            Beth Sullivan, Principal Advisor, Financial Policy.

8          Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan update - Cultural Impact Assessments (1.45 – 2.05pm)

            Mark Leggett, Team Manager, Practice & Training, Resource Consents and Jym Clark, Planner, Unitary Plan.

9          Events in Rural Areas (2.05 – 2.25pm)

            Tim Weight, Manager Inspections, Building Control.

10        National Policy Statement for Freshwater (2.25 – 2.40pm)

            Greg Holland, Manager Natural Environment Strategy.

11        Kaipara River update (2.40 – 2.55pm)

            Wolfgang Kanz, Senior Stormwater Specialist.

12        Consideration of Extraordinary Items 



1          Apologies


An apology from Deputy Chairperson South Alan Cole has been received.


2          Declaration of Interest


Members are reminded of the need to be vigilant to stand aside from decision making when a conflict arises between their role as a member and any private or other external interest they might have.


3          Confirmation of Minutes


That the Rural Advisory Panel:

a)         confirm the ordinary minutes of its meeting, held on Friday, 24 July 2015, as a true and correct record.



4          Extraordinary Business


Section 46A(7) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (as amended) states:


“An item that is not on the agenda for a meeting may be dealt with at that meeting if-


(a)        The local authority by resolution so decides; and


(b)        The presiding member explains at the meeting, at a time when it is open to the public,-


(i)         The reason why the item is not on the agenda; and


(ii)        The reason why the discussion of the item cannot be delayed until a subsequent meeting.”


Section 46A(7A) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (as amended) states:


“Where an item is not on the agenda for a meeting,-


(a)        That item may be discussed at that meeting if-


(i)         That item is a minor matter relating to the general business of the local authority; and


(ii)        the presiding member explains at the beginning of the meeting, at a time when it is open to the public, that the item will be discussed at the meeting; but


(b)        no resolution, decision or recommendation may be made in respect of that item except to refer that item to a subsequent meeting of the local authority for further discussion.”




Rural Advisory Panel

04 September 2015



Review of farm/lifestyle rates


File No.: CP2015/17541



1.       To seek feedback from the Rural Advisory Panel on options for rating properties classed as farm/lifestyle.

Executive Summary

2.       The Council will decide in October 2015 whether it wishes to formally consult on any amendments to the rating policy. Staff are undertaking pre-engagement on a proposal to change the way farm/lifestyle properties are rated to inform advice to the Governing Body.

3.       Currently farm/lifestyle blocks pay 80 per cent of the urban residential general rate. Under the proposal, properties classed as farm/lifestyle would be charged different levels of general rate based on the size of the property. Farm/lifestyle properties of 50 hectares or more would pay 60 per cent of the urban residential rate, while properties less than 6 hectares would pay 83 per cent of the urban residential rate. Rates for properties between 6 and 50 hectares would remain unchanged.

4.       The proposal sets the differentials so that the same total rates are collected from farm/lifestyle properties. There is no rating impact on ratepayers outside of farm/lifestyle.

5.       Pre-engagement is being undertaken with the Rural Advisory Panel, rural local boards, and interested rural ratepayer groups. Attached to this report is a discussion document outlining the key issues for this rates proposal.



That the Rural Advisory Panel:

a)       provide feedback on the rating of farm/lifestyle properties.







Farm Lifestyle Rates Discussion Document




Beth Sullivan - Principal Advisor Policy


Matthew Walker - General Manager Financial Plan Policy & Budgeting

Warren Maclennan - Manager Planning - North/West


Rural Advisory Panel

04 September 2015



Auckland Council Discussion Document: Rating farm and lifestyle properties


As part of the development of its Annual Plan 2016/2017 council will be considering whether it wishes to consult on a proposal to change to how rates are charged to these properties. This proposal would see small farm/lifestyle properties pay a little more in rates, to fund a larger rate reduction for large farm/lifestyle properties. The purpose of this engagement is to seek the views of the rural community prior to considering whether to proceed to formally consult on the proposal. The following discussion document gives an overview of the issues that need to be considered for such a proposal.


At present properties classed as farm/lifestyle pay 80% of the general rate that is charged to urban residential properties. The council thinks this difference in rates is fair as farm/lifestyle properties have lower access to council services compared to other types of properties.


The proposal put forward would see larger farm/lifestyle properties (50 hectares or more in size) charged 60% of the urban residential rate. To fund this reduction in rates, small farm/lifestyle properties (less than 6 hectares in size) would be charged 83% of the urban residential rate.  The table below shows the effect this proposal on rates for these properties.


Farm/lifestyle size category:





Less than 6ha

6 to 50ha

50 ha or larger

No. of properties




Proposed Differential

(% of urban residential general rate)




Average rate change(%)




Average rate change ($)





This proposal only affects the rates of small and large farm/lifestyle properties. Rates for all other properties, including medium sized farm/lifestyle, would remain unchanged.


What reasons are there for charging larger farm/lifestyle less and small farm/lifestyle more?


Large properties tend to be further from council services, and have unsealed roads. Almost all large properties are farms or forestry. They create local jobs and reduce the need for people to commute to the city.


Smaller properties are mostly residential lifestyle. They tend to be located closer to urban areas, and usually have sealed roads. They also tend to be in areas with higher household incomes and are associated with urban commuting, creating demand on transport services.


Are there any reasons why farm/lifestyle rates should stay the same?


Large farms are run as businesses and have tax advantages not available to residential ratepayers. They currently pay a third of the rates charged to other rural business properties. Farms and forestry are also associated with heavy vehicle movements which contribute significantly to cost of maintaining local roads.


Rates already reflect differences in access to services and the quality of roads to an extent. This is because properties that are more remote, or have unsealed roads, have lower land values than similar properties that are close to urban areas or have sealed roads.


What do you think?  Should small farm/lifestyle properties pay more so large farm/lifestyle properties can pay less?


To help you decide, the following document sets out some of the key differences between small, medium and large farm/lifestyle properties.

Differences between small, medium and large farm/lifestyle properties at a glance

Rounded Rectangle: Medium 
•	5,300 properties
•	71% lifestyle, 29% rural industry
•	range from larger residential blocks, non-economic farms  and large market gardens to economic farm units (generally over 20ha)
Rounded Rectangle: Small
•	19,900 properties
•	95% categorised as lifestyle
•	Includes 25% of all rural industry (950 properties) 
•	Rural industry more intensive (80% market gardens and specialist livestock e.g. glasshouses, poultry sheds)
Rounded Rectangle: Large
•	1,200 properties
•	96% categorised as rural industry (only 53 properties are lifestyle)
•	85% stock or dairy farms, 7% forestry



















Are there differences in how farm/lifestyle properties benefit from council services?


Property and census data suggest some differences in how small and large properties access and create demand for council services as shown below. (Medium sized properties fell between small and large on all measures shown.)

Distance to council facilities


Around 30% of rates spending is on council facilities such as parks, libraries, pools, event centres, community halls and attractions such as the Auckland Museum that are partially rate funded. These facilities are primarily located in urban areas, and larger rural towns.


It is difficult to assess the distance from every farm/lifestyle property to every type of council facility. However, we can do a simple analysis of the distance to the nearest council library service to give a relative indication of how close properties are to council facilities. Properties that are within 5 km of a council library are considered close; more than 20km from a library are remote.

26% of small properties

5% of large properties

are close


7% of small properties

30% of large properties

are remote






Small properties on average get greater benefit from council facilities than larger properties, because they tend to be closer to these services.

Local roads


Around 18% of rates fund local roads, mainly for maintenance and replacement costs. (State highways and motorways are the responsibility of NZTA and funded through fuel tax).

Sealed roads cost 4x unsealed roads to maintain


95% of small properties

4% of large properties

have sealed road access






Small properties have better roads than large ones. However, costs to maintain and renew roads are related to the number of heavy vehicle movements. Rural industries, particularly dairying and forestry, are generators of heavy vehicle movements.  So while small properties receive more benefits from local roads, large properties are responsible for a larger share of the costs of maintaining them.

Public transport


Around 15% of rates spending is on public transport – though the share paid by rural properties is less than for urban properties.

40% of small properties

are in areas with public transport use above the rural average


10% of large properties

are in areas with public transport use above the rural average





Small properties are more likely to be in areas with higher levels of urban commuting than large properties. Rural industry creates local employment, reducing the need for residents to commute. Small properties generate more commuter trips than large ones. However the overall level of commuting is still low, with only 8% of private vehicle and 7% public transport commuter trips originating in rural areas.


Do these differences support charging different rates for small, medium and large farm/lifestyle properties?


Small properties tend to benefit more from council services than large properties. This doesn’t mean that small properties should pay higher rates however. 


Not all small properties receive a higher level of benefit than all large properties. Some large properties will be close to council services, and have sealed roads. Some small properties are remote, and there are almost as many small properties on unsealed roads as large ones. 


The level of benefit a property receives from council services largely depends on how close it is to urban centres, and whether it has sealed road access. These factors are reflected in land values. On average, land close to council facilities is worth twice as much as similar land in remote areas. Road sealing increases land values around 20 per cent.


This means that council rates already reflect differences in the level of services available to properties to some extent.  On average, a large farm/lifestyle property close to urban areas will pay 2.3 times the rates per hectare than a large property in remote areas. Small properties close to urban areas pay twice as much rates per hectare than remote ones.


Large properties still pay a greater proportion of farm/lifestyle rates compared to small ones. They make up 5% of farm/lifestyle properties but pay 10% of the rates collected from these properties. This is because larger properties have higher valuations than small ones. Under the proposal, the share of farm/lifestyle rates paid by large properties drops to 7.3%.


Do some groups of farm/lifestyle properties find it easier to pay rates?


Nearly 70 per cent of lifestyle properties are located in areas that recorded average household incomes above $80,000 in the 2013 census. This compares with 40% of residential properties.


Farms and other rural industries are run as businesses. They have tax advantages that residential properties do not. They can treat rates as an expense and claim back GST. This sees a farm effectively paying two-thirds the rates of a same value lifestyle property. A farm also pays one third of the rates paid by a rural business with the same valuation.  This is because properties classed as rural business (such as shops in rural areas) are charged a higher rates differential.


Why use size? Why not apply differentials based on land use?


A size based differential has the advantage of being an objective measure that is easily assessed. The proposed categories broadly differentiate between the predominately small residential lifestyle properties and predominately large economic rural industry properties.


The disadvantage is that the size categories are arbitrary. There will be no difference in level of council services for two adjacent same use properties, one 5.9 hectares and one 6.1 hectares. It also does not differentiate between residential properties and rural industry – a small market garden would be rated the same as small lifestyle property.


Auckland Council’s general rate


Properties are charged a general rate based on the total value of the property (capital value or CV). The general rate (along with the fixed general charge) pays for those council services that are considered to benefit the community generally.


Rating category

General Rates differential

Urban Business


Urban Residential


Rural Business


Rural Residential




In deciding how to charge ratepayers the council considers whether some groups of ratepayers benefit more from council services or find it easier to pay rates. The council applies differentials to the general rate so some groups of ratepayers pay more, and other less.  This table shows how much groups of ratepayers pay, compared to an urban residential property.


Business properties are charged more than urban residential ratepayers. This is because businesses place greater demand on some council services, such as roading and stormwater. They can also treat rates as a business expense and claim back GST, so will pay less than a residential property charged the same amount.


Rural properties are charged less than urban properties because they have less access to or place less demand on council services such as public transport and stormwater. They are also further from the council’s urban based facilities. 


Rural residential properties are charged more than farm/lifestyle properties because they are generally located in towns and often have a higher level of council services, such as footpaths, and stormwater services. Larger towns may have facilities like libraries and swimming pools.

How do Auckland Council rates for farms compare with other councils?


An Auckland farm with a capital value of $3,000,000 and land value of $2,000,000 would pay $6,420.  The same property would pay the following rates in these council areas:

Far North




South Wairarapa




New Plymouth










(Rates include district and regional rates. Excludes water, wastewater, and rubbish/recycling rates.)


What do you think?

Should all farm/lifestyle properties be rated the same?

Or is it fair to charge small farm/lifestyle properties more and large farm/lifestyle less?

Do you have any other comments on how Auckland Council rates rural properties?


Send us your feedback:

Email:             RuralRates@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

In writing:      Rural rates review

                        Auckland Council                            

                        Private Bag 92300

                        Auckland 1142

Online:           ShapeAuckland.co.nz