COVID-19 and your rates
Under the government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system), Whanganui District Council has made temporary changes to the way some services can be accessed.
Some community members have asked why the council is charging rates for facilities that can only be physically accessed by people holding a Vaccine Pass.
Here are some frequently asked questions and our responses
Do I have to pay full rates when I’m not able to access services like the library without a Vaccine Pass?
Yes. A ratepayer’s personal choice about vaccination does not negate their responsibility to pay the full amount of rates levied against their property.
Rates are not a direct charge for services, but a property tax which helps to support a wide range of services and amenities for the entire community as well as activities to further community and economic development and enable participation in democracy.
Our services and amenities include drinking water, roads, emergency management, parks, public toilets, libraries and council-owned venues. The cost of providing our services is still the same under restrictions related to the pandemic, including under the government’s current COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system).
How are rates set?
To help fund all of the services provided to the community, councils are required to set rates under the Local Government Rating Act 2002. Once rates have been set at the beginning of the financial year (1 July) the council is responsible for collecting rates from all property owners within its district.
Read more about how rates work
How did the council decide which services would require a Vaccine Pass?
The council is following Ministry of Health guidelines and continually assesses health, safety and well-being related risks. The current measures are temporary while COVID-19 still presents a risk to our community and health services.
How can I find out which services and facilities require a Vaccine Pass?
Up-to-date information on council facilities and services under the COVID-Protection Framework is available here, where you can also find advice on those facilities that require presentation of a Vaccine Passport before entry.
Where facilities require a Vaccine Pass to be shown on entry, we are doing everything possible to still provide a level of service safely to all members of the community. Examples include Book & Collect services and livestreaming council meetings.
What will happen if I don’t pay my rates?
Penalties are applied to overdue rates. We encourage ratepayers to pay throughout the year using direct debit payments. Failure to pay rates may result in legal action to recover the outstanding debt.