11 Dec 2014

Call to repay rates on Maori land

7:57 am on 11 December 2014

The Northland Regional Council's Te Tai Tokerau Maori Advisory Committee says unpaid rates on Maori land is costing the council millions and wants people to pay up.

Dover Samuels.

Dover Samuels. Photo: Parliament

Councillor Dover Samuels said those who pay rates are subsidising those who are not.

Mr Samuels said it has been a problem for years and was often linked to Maori land that has multiple owners.

The council is owed more than $4 million in unpaid rates and penalties as of June this year, he said, with roughly two-thirds related to Maori land.

Mr Samuels said people generally are struggling to pay their rates and was not convinced by the "culturally correct" reasons some people use to justify not paying.

Mr Samuels said he had become increasingly frustrated at the way those who are not paying use culture - and the sometimes diverse ownership arrangements surrounding Maori land - as an excuse for non-payment.

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