An “announcement was made by Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta on Sunday and greeted by loud cheers from an audience of about 300″ but, unfortunately, it wasn’t her resignation, so what else could it have been?
“All unpaid rates arrears on Maori freehold land will be written off under new legislation to be introduced to Parliament within months.”
Isn’t that nice of Local Government Minister Ms Mahuta?
It’s a move that could rip collectively, by my rough estimation, $100 Million+ from local government’s asset sheets:
- Northland $20 Million alone,
- Gisborne $6 Million
- Waikato (as of 2015) $26 Million, it could be hugely higher, who knows?
And how will those write-off’s, those new debits on the books be balanced? I think clever people already know the answer to that one: everybody else not in arrears will henceforth be required to pay more to cover the loss. Call it Mahutanomics, if you like.
According to our financial genius, ”inheriting rates arrears on land that can’t be sold discourages landowners from engaging with their whenua”, yes, really. Well; how about engaging with their wallets and simply pay the dues like everybody else?
Under Mahutanomics paying back-rates is a ‘barrier to development’ just as my paying current rates is both a barrier to personal happiness and a downward spiral to the poor-house.
But the important part of the good lady’s announcement is in what she didn’t say, and what the major news outlets didn’t check, those that bothered to mention it. That task was left to the Gizzy Herald: “Trustees of Maori land need to pay rates only when income is derived from the land”.
So, there you have it: the debt has accumulated because the land has been put to commercial uses of some description or another, however, some owners have chosen simply to pocket the proceeds and ignore their civic duty and legal obligation to contribute to their community in return, but don’t worry about it, we’ll just write such transgression off. It’s Mahutanomics, silly.
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