18 Jun 2010

Farmers call for rethink on rates

6:04 am on 18 June 2010

Federated Farmers is calling for changes to the way council rates are levied.

Rates are charged on the capital value of a property, which the organisation says is grossly unfair.

At Fieldays in Hamilton on Thursday, it released a Colmar Brunton poll of 1000 people, most of whom lived in urban areas, showing that 35% preferred rates to be struck by charging a uniform rate for all residents, regardless of whether they own property.

Another 34% favoured the present system, in which rates are calculated on property values and paid by property owners.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson says the current system is fundamentally flawed and skewed against farmers.

The poll results were presented to Local Government Minister Rodney Hide at Fieldays.

Mr Hide says he supports the Federated Farmers' call, but does not have an easy answer for farmers, who he says can be dispropionately hit with rates compared with people in urban areas.