23 Sep 2013

Rates rise challenge hearing begins

10:38 pm on 23 September 2013

A legal challenge has begun in the High Court in Wellington by a group of Picton residents who face a huge rates increase after their land was re-zoned.

The 58 properties were moved from the Picton Vicinity rating area into the Picton rating area, leading to rates rises of between 50% - 150%.

The Karaka Point and Environs residents group has asked the High Court for a judicial review of the way in which the Marlborough District Council changed the affected properties' rating valuation.

Lawyer Karen Clark told the Court on Monday there were two flaws in the way the change was handled.

She said the proposal was notified to residents but the notification did not contain an assessment of the proposal's significance for the 58 properties concerned.

Ms Clark said the notice of the proposal arrived 18 days into the statutory consultation period of one month.

The council says it acted fairly and agreed to implement the rates rises over a period of four years.