The Wairoa District Council at its meeting last week resolved to write-off almost $300,000 worth of unpaid or Statute Barred rates.
Statute Barred rates are rates that have been levied six or more years before, and where no legal action has been taken for recovery.
When rates on General or Māori land have not been paid, they becomes "Statute Barred'.
Mayor Craig Little said this report comes to Council every year and we need to start thinking about addressing this.
"Some of these parcels of lands don't really need to be on here, we need to get some work done to identify which parcels of land really do belong on this list, we need to work constructively with our community to look at a good solution to this," Mr Little said.
"Do we just carry on and keep on doing this or do we want to commit to addressing this issue."
"All councils are trying to deal with Statute Barred rates but no one has the magic answer yet."
Councillor Hine Flood said that we could look at ways of leading the discussion on this.
"Is this something that we want to develop a remit for to take to LGNZ. Obviously there is something wrong with the system and it's such a complex issue."
Māori Standing Committee Chairman Kiwa Hammond said that this was a very complex issue and the Māori Standing Committee were aware of some of the issues because usually more than 90% of Statute Barred rates are from multiple-owned Māori freehold land.
"When you have multiple owners to land like Māori freehold land, this creates a whole number of issues," Mr Hammond said.
"Te Ture Whenua Māori reforms are underway and this might be one piece of the puzzle that assists in simplifying this somewhat, but there are a myriad of other issues that need to be considered and we just need to think our way through this issue carefully."
Council also resolved to have this issue referred to the Māori Standing Committee to consider the issues and that the Economic Development and Engagement Manager will look at ways to address the issues.
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Wairoa District Council
31 October 2018
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