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Rates FAQ's

On this page you can find most of the frequently asked questions about rates - how they are worked out and payment options.

Your rates explained

You can find out all about rates in this animated video - how they are spent, where the additional funding comes from, and how your rates are worked out.

Rates Increases Questions

Why is there a 19% increase in my rates?

The Council has decided to step up work to increase environmental care and protection in the region and additional rates funding will help to improve our water, our land and our biodiversity.  When Councillors proposed the work and increase in the Long Term Plan they were encouraged by the positive support they received through meetings, public comment and submissions.

The rate increase is going towards more work to protect our land and improve water quality, such as speeding up Farm Plans, riparian planting, reforestation on highly erodible land unsuitable for commercial forestry.  This work also benefits our biodiversity – the health of our native plants and animals – and we are also using additional funding for pest management to further help biodiversity through a predator free Hawke’s Bay.

If you live in Napier or Hastings Districts, you will also see a new targeted rate to meet the cost of planning for coastal hazard management because of sea level rise.

Some of the increase is due to Civil Defence Emergency Management Group being brought under the regional council to streamline management and preparation for disaster. The uniform charge in your rates for this has increased, but your local council should be reducing their rates to reflect this change.

The Council is also growing capacity and partnerships for co-governance and co-management with tāngata whenua.

Please check the newsletter sent with your rates for more information on how your rates help your community.

General Rate Questions

When are my rates due?

The account is due for payment on 1 October. Our advice is to pay it as soon as you can, or set up an automatic payment or register for Direct Debit payments.  Final payment date is 31 January next year to avoid a 10% penalty.

Who pays rates?

Everyone who owns a property pays regional council rates – including homeowners, section owners, farmers, orchardists, lifestylers and commercial property owners. 

What’s the difference between the general rate and the uniform annual general charge (or UAGC)?

The general rate is calculated on your land value, so the charge varies between ratepayers.  The uniform annual general charge is charged the same/flat fee on every property.

Why do I pay both city/district and regional rates?

The councils have different responsibilities, so you pay for the different services they provide.  Some regions have a unitary council (Auckland, Gisborne, Marlborough) where these functions are combined, but that’s not the case in Hawke’s Bay.

  • Rates for your local city or district council pay for water, sewage, rubbish collection, city facilities such as parks and sports areas, roads and community programmes.
  • Regional Council rates are used for managing natural resources – water, land, air and coast - and other regional functions like transport and civil defence.

How much of what the Council spends is taken from rates?

About 36% of our income is from general and targeted rates.  The rest is from user pays, and loan and investment funding.

income

What do I get for my rates?

You can find good information in the newsletter we included in the envelope with your rates.  This shows how your rates will pay for us to achieve better water quality, sustainable land use, healthy biodiversity and sustainable services and infrastructure.  Detail below -

benefits

Paying Rates Questions

How can I pay my rates?

We offer a number of payment options to help you ease your budget.  These are listed in the newsletter contained with your invoice. 

Please check:

  1. Use your property Valuation number as a reference in all internet and cheque payments, along with your surname and address to ensure your payment can be verified.
  2. If you own more than one property, you need to make a separate payment for each one, using each Valuation number as the primary reference. 

Direct Debit – you can choose to have your bank account debited with 1 payment on 31 January, or in 3 equal installments in November, December and January.  Sign up here online or complete and return the form enclosed with your rates account before 20 November, if you have chosen the 3 payment option.

Internet banking –set up your own payment plan throughout the year, ensuring you clear your rates by 31 January, or pay a single instalment. 

Credit card– either pay online here (note: there is a 2% surcharge) or in person at our Napier rates counter (no surcharge). 

Pay in person – take your rates account with you to pay at any BNZ branch, or at our Napier office rates counter (cash, cheque, EFTPOS, credit card).

Mail – your payments must be posted at least a week before 31 January 2019 to ensure we receive it in time to avoid a penalty. 

I’ve sold my property but I’ve still received an invoice.

Our property and ownership data comes from city and district councils, and we may not have received the new ownership information before the assessments were printed.

I haven’t received my rates bill.

If you or another property owner registered to receive your rates by email, please check your computer inbox, junk mail or other mailboxes. 

If you changed your postal address recently, your new address details may not have been received in time.  Please contact our HBRC rates team on 835 2955 to request a copy of the current assessment, and we can also check that your details are correct.

Can I register to get my rates by email?

Yes you can, and to do this you need to go to your local council’s website (see links below) and search on ‘rates by email’ then follow the instructions.  You can opt to pay regional council rates by email through them.

Central Hawke's Bay
Wairoa District Council
Hastings District Council
Napier City Council

How can I sign up for Direct Debit?

Direct Debit is the easy way to pay and there is information with your invoice about it.  Simply go to our direct debit page and complete the form (or post in the form with your rates invoice).  Please note that if you want to spread payments over 3 months but register late in November or in December, we will calculate the spread over 2 months instead; a late January registration means a single payment will be deducted for the full amount. However your request will be put into action the following year. 

We are running a promotion to encourage Direct Debit and you could be in the draw to win a civil defence emergency water tank for your home.

What happens if I don’t pay my rates by 31 January next year?

A penalty of 10% on the outstanding balance of the current instalment is added to the account.  However we do offer a number of payment options to help you spread your payments, and if you think you will have difficulty paying your rates by that date, please discuss the matter confidentially with our rates team on 835 2955 to avoid unnecessary penalty charges.

Where are you located so I can pay my bill?

You can pay your rates bill at the rates account at our Napier office at 159 Dalton St.  Easier still you can pay at any BNZ branch - just take your account with you as the valuation number will be required as your payment reference.

Can I still pay my rates over the counter?

Yes, you can take your rates account with you to pay at any BNZ branch, or at our Napier office rates counter (cash, cheque, EFTPOS, credit card).  You only need to give your valuation number as a reference.

Who can I talk to about my rates?

If you need to discuss your rates situation, you are welcome to contact our rates team on 835 2955 and the office is open 8 am to 5 pm.  You can also email rates@hbrc.govt.nz to make an appointment.

Specific Rates Questions

Why do I have to pay for buses when I don’t use them?

Ratepayers in Napier and Hastings contribute on the basis of availability of the service.  Buses provide transport for many people who don’t drive, such as the elderly and students.  They also help reduce air pollution (by having fewer vehicles on the road) and ease traffic and parking pressures. 

As well as rates, fares and government subsidies fund this service and help keep fares affordable for all. 

The bus services are well used by commuters and shoppers - over 666,000 trips on 12 routes (July 2017 -June 2018) covered about 7 million kilometres.

Thanks to the District Health Board, there is free bus travel if you are going to the Hospital or Napier Health Centre – just show the bus driver your valid appointment card/letter/text.  There are stops right outside both locations.  

Why has my Civil Defence charge gone up this year?

Civil Defence Emergency Management Group charge has been brought under the regional council to simplify the funding and streamline management and preparation for disaster. The uniform charge in your rates for this has increased, but your local council should be reducing their rates to reflect this change.

Why is there a Sustainable Homes fee on my rates account?

  • If you have received a Heat Smart financial loan for upgrading home heating or insulation then the annual instalment is shown on your assessment, separately from your annual rates.
  • If not, then your property will be in Napier or Hastings where ratepayers contribute towards a programme to monitor and improve air quality.  These areas will benefit from cleaner air quality.

Council will be borrowing up to $13 Million to help 1300 homes in Hawke’s Bay become more sustainable – with solar water heating, better home heating and insulation, water storage and septic tank replacement. This scheme pays for itself and will only be a cost to the ratepayers it benefits.

Why do I pay for Civil Defence?

Everyone in the region pays a standard fee to help your home and the whole region prepare for and manage any disaster – like recent floods or a major earthquake. Civil defence emergency management works with other emergency services (Police, Fire) and with agencies such as health, welfare to prepare so you can be safe when the worst happens.

From this year you will pay only once for the region’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Group through a uniform charge in your Regional Council rates - your local council should be reducing their rates to reflect this change. 

Why is there a Coastal Hazards charge?

Regional ratepayers in Napier and Hastings have a new targeted rate to meet the cost of planning for coastal hazard management. A predicted sea level rise of up to 1.5 metres over the next 100 years will require major changes to the protective structures and intervention along our coast, so we will need to pay for the preparation planning.

How much am I paying towards tourism this year?

You will not see a separate line item for tourism on your rates account as this is included in the economic development rate, which is a uniform charge for residents and a charge based on capital value for commercial properties.  Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has reduced funding to Hawke’s Bay Tourism from this year, and also is charging commercial properties more and residents less for the economic development rate to more fairly reflect who benefits.

Related Issues

My water tastes terrible as there is chlorine in it, how are my rates being used to fix it?

Tap water supply is the responsibility of your local city or district council, so you will need to discuss this matter with them.

 

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