FAQs

If you can't find the answer you're looking for free phone 0508 800 800 or email help@horizons.govt.nz

Filter results by

Property & Rates

Can I get a discount on my rates?

Yes, for this rating year 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

If all rates owing (this includes arrears, penalty and current) are paid in full by the due date 25 September 2020, a discount of 3% will be allowed on the current rates. The discount applies to the current year only. The 2020-2021 discount does not apply to any rates still owed from previous years, therefore to receive the discount on your current rates the total balance needs to be paid in full before or on the due date.

Property & Rates

How can I start a payment arrangement?

Payment arrangements can be made by emailing us at help@horizons.govt.nz or giving our friendly Customer Services team a toll-free call on 0508 800 800.
Alternatively you can download and complete a direct debit form from our website and post it to us at the following address:
Private Bag 11025
Manawatū Mail Centre
Palmerston North 4442
 

Property & Rates

How did Horizons operate in the Alert Levels in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Most of council staff began to work from home on 24 March, with a small number physically remaining to help operate the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) on behalf of the Manawatū-Whanganui Emergency Management Group. Other staff continued to support essential services such as emergency response, passenger transport, emergency consents, responding to serious environmental incidents, and assisting with the planning for regional recovery. As the country transitioned from Alert Level 4 to 3, more functions such as our environmental data monitoring, freshwater management, biosecurity, land management, and water quality and quantity science came back online. Alert Level 3 also enabled us to complete inspections and preparation of our flood protection and data monitoring networks. This includes drain clearance, pump maintenance, and stopbank repairs and testing equipment in preparation for potential floods over winter.

Property & Rates

How will I know what the discounted amount is?

The discount amount and the discounted balance will be clearly shown on the rates notice. The discounted amount will be withdrawn after the due date and the discount will no longer be reflected on your property’s account.

Property & Rates

I can't afford to pay my rates - what can I do?

If you are having difficulty paying your rates we may be able to enter into a payment arrangement with you. Please contact the Horizons rates team for all payment arrangement options. If your request for a payment arrangement is successful and the payments do not default then a remission of penalty will be applied if required. Please phone free phone 0508 700 800.
 
Direct Debit
You may pay by direct debit that offers annual, quarterly, monthly and fortnightly payment options. A form can be sent to you by our customer services team or you can download the direct debit form.    

 
Automatic payments
Automatic payments can be set up in two ways:

  • Request a form from our customer services team, complete it and then pass it onto your bank to set up.
  • Ring us on free phone 0508 700 800 to work out how much per chosen frequency you need to pay, and then set us up as a new automatic payment through your internet banking.

If payments aren’t made, or not enough is being paid to have completed the full invoice by the end of the current financial year (30 June), the remission of penalty will not be applied.
 

Property & Rates

I don't use buses why should I pay for them?

Having a bus service available gives people an option for transport and means fewer cars on the road and an environmentally friendly transport solution. It can also be a cost effective way of getting to and from town, work or between towns.

Property & Rates

I don't want my name and address showing on your Rate Information Database (RID)

Horizons can send you a name suppression form to complete so we can remove your details. This needs to be applied for each year. Please note that no names or postal address show on the RID which is the rates database on our website. You can also download a copy of the suppression form here.

Property & Rates

I have always paid a general rate but their year it is showing a zero amount?

We made interest on investments which means there is no general rate for 2020-21 rates.

Property & Rates

I live in Ashhurst why am I now paying a Lower Manawatū - Special Project Scheme?

In 2017 Ashhurst residents asked Horizons to intervene with the progressive loss of the part of the Ashhurst Domain that fronts the Manawatū River, stemming back to the June 2015 floods. For 2020-21 year this equates to 28 cents per $100,000 of capital value for the Ashhurst ratepayer.

Property & Rates

I live in the Rangitīkei District and don't understand what I am paying for to get rid of Old Man's Beard?

Old Man’s Beard has been identified as a particular problem by the local Rangitīkei community and as result a ‘Differentiated Uniform Annual Charge of $33.91 has been applied to properties over 4 hectares in size and a $9.14 charge for those under 4 hectares. In areas where Old Man’s Beard has become a problem we work with relevant community groups, and aim to stop it spreading further. Outside these areas we will try to eradicate it whenever it appears.

Property & Rates

I live in the Whanganui District, why have my rates increased so significantly?

Horizons Regional Council approved the average of a one per cent increase across the region through the adoption of the 2020-21 Annual Plan at their Regional Council meeting on 26 May 2020.
 
This followed a few weeks of seeking feedback from our communities after revising our Annual Plan to recognise potential post-pandemic social and economic impact to the Manawatū-Whanganui Region.
 
The one per cent is made up from amplified insurance costs, passenger transport and total mobility inflation costs, as well as lower than expected income from interest returns.
 
Horizons rates are calculated based on a property’s capital value.
 
Individual rate demands may differ to the average one per cent rate increase. This is because each district has a different set of valuations on which rates are calculated, with the timing of revaluations differing across the region.
 
Even if Council had adopted a zero rate percentage, most Whanganui (and Horowhenua and Manawatū) ratepayers would still have experienced rate increases due to the recent revaluations carried out in these districts.
 
Each rates invoice is made up of a combination of charges. Uniform Charges are the same amount for every ratepayer across the region and include things such as Environmental Initiatives and Drinking Water monitoring and research.
 
Other Common Rates are the same activity charged for every ratepayer but at slightly different rates for each district. These are based on a property’s capital value.
 
Finally, there are property specific rates that are charged based on the type, size and location of the property and are a combination of capital value, targeted and area based charges that can differ from property to property and neighbour to neighbour.
 
On average an estimated 60% of the total rates invoice is based on capital value, however again this varies for every ratepayer within the region.
 
Other factors that can effect a rates invoice include specific district rating inputs, such as an urban passenger transport rate, or special river protection rates. For example, in Whanganui this could include river management flood protection schemes such as the Lower Whanganui River or Matarawa Scheme, passenger transport services including total mobility services, pest plant and animal control, biodiversity enhancement, and infrastructure insurance.
 
We recognise that setting rates based on capital value is not ideal, however that is the blunt tool that we have inherited. Ideally, all of our seven districts would be revalued at the same time to avoid one or two districts being affected more than its neighbours in any one year. Unfortunately, QV do not have the capacity to do this.
 
The reality is, on a whole, Whanganui property values have increased. These properties won’t be revalued for another three years so, for the next two years, Whanganui rates will be assessed on this year’s capital value.
 
Residential property capital values in Whanganui increased on average by 56%. Land values for the same properties increased on average by 93%.
 
We also recognise the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. This was a significant consideration back in March when we were about to go out with a proposed 5.49 per cent average rate increase. Government’s rebate for our rates is available through city and district councils.
 
In terms of discount for services unavailable during lockdown, Horizons was still functioning – this included operating the Manawatū-Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Management Emergency Coordination Centre, our environmental data monitoring and reporting, flood protection management, and essential services such as passenger transport and mobility services.
 

Property & Rates

Is the Victoria Avenue Development owned by Horizons?

It is owned by MWRC Holdings which is owned by Horizons. Having investments allows Council to reduce our reliance on general rating revenues to fund our work programmes. Horizons Group has investments in shares, commercial property and fixed term cash. Horizons uses its 100 per cent owned holding company MWRC Holdings Limited as a vehicle for managing several investments.

Property & Rates

My rates bill has increased this year because my property value has increased, why?

Horizons has a system which deals with most rises and falls in property values and this works. However, in a few cases where property prices rise significantly more than other properties, yes your rates will go up. The Council has no say in this matter and any concerns you have need to be taken up with Quotable Value – the government agency that sets the rateable value of your property.

Property & Rates

Q: Will items left out of this year’s consultation be a priority next year?

Council are set to develop their 2021-31 Long-term Plan next year. This will involve setting the priorities for the next 10 years, as well as which rates are required each year to fund the activities proposed. This may include reviewing original proposals or adding new ones.

Property & Rates

What happens if I don't pay my rates?

All property owners are required by law to pay their rates. The final day for payment for all rates is the 25 September 2020. If rates are not paid in full, or a payment arrangement is not in place with Horizons, penalties will be charged at the end of October. Please refer to the back of your rate notice for more information.

Property & Rates

What is a river or drainage scheme rate? How are they calculated?

A Scheme Rate varies according to the benefit received from stop banks, pump stations, drainage systems and other flood protection facilities. The higher the risk of flooding to your property, the higher rate you pay as you receive greater benefit from the protection. If you live further from a waterway, you still pay for the benefits of flood-protected roads, shops and services, but at a lower rate.

Property & Rates

What is a Targeted Rate?

Targeted Rates are for a particular activity or project that benefits specific ratepayers, for example pest plant and pest animal control. These are also referred to as biodiversity rates.

Property & Rates

What is a Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)?

The UAGC funds a large range of activities from which every ratepayer benefits equally. It is a fixed rate that is applied to every rateable property in the region. The UAGC in 2020-21 is set at $46 per rateable property.

Property & Rates

What is Accelerate25?

Accelerate25 is the implementation programme which has grown from the Central Government commissioned Regional Growth Study. The study identified a number of opportunities and key enablers to help realise our region’s economic potential. The aim of Accelerate25 is to grow our regional prosperity between now and 2025 and an Action Plan to unlock the opportunities. To find out more about Accelerate25 visit www.accelerate25.co.nz.

Property & Rates

What is an Uniform Annual Charge (UAC)?

These are a fixed rate applied to ratepayers who benefit from a specific type of work. It is not assessed on capital value like the general rate. Uniform annual charges include SLUI ($38.56) per property throughout the region, Tōtara Reserve our only regional park ($6.38) per Palmerston North and per Manawatū properties and environmental initiatives ($23.11) on each rateable property throughout the region.
 
Uniform = SUIP
A SUIP is a Separately Used or Inhabited Part of a rating unit and is only recognised when there is a unique valuation number for that part of the rating unit. A SUIP could be applied to a property more than once in a situation such as having multiple dwellings.

Property & Rates

What is meant by equalisation?

District and city councils revalue at different times across the region. These revaluations affect the capital value of properties and, hence how much general rate they pay. Each year Horizons obtains an equalisation certificate from Quotable Value that shows the value of all districts as at the last revaluation date. This information is used to equally spread the rates allocated by capital value among the districts.
 
Revaluations
All properties in the region are re-valued on a 3-yearly cycle. If your property has had a revalue this year it will mean the value on which your property is rated will have changed and this will have affected the rates you pay on a capital value as properties do not uniformly move in value within a district.
 

Property & Rates

What is the Capital Connection?

Passenger rail services, such as the Capital Connection, between the Horizons and Greater Wellington Regions is included in the transport passenger services.

Property & Rates

What is the Manawatū River Leaders' Accord?

Led by Horizons, the Manawatū River Leaders’ Accord brings together leaders from community, industry, interest groups, iwi and local government in their efforts to improve the state of the Manawatū River and its catchment. It enables groups to work in partnership with one another, sets clear goals and provides accountability around clean-up actions and activities. Horizons contributes $410,000 per year to this clean-up effort under the Manawatū River Leaders’ Accord. This is funded by ratepayers in the Manawatū Catchment. More information about this work can be found at www.manawaturiver.co.nz.

Property & Rates

What is the meaning of Classifications?

Classifications are the codes given to the descriptions in the rating lines on your invoice, shown on page 3. Rate classification codes are available to download here.

Property & Rates

What is the transport rate?

Everyone pays a Transport Rate that goes towards land transport planning and road safety. Ratepayers who have public transport and Total Mobility services available in their area contribute to this through the targeted passenger services rate.

Property & Rates

What is this Infrastructure Insurance Reserve Rate and why am I paying it?

Following an increase in natural hazards, insurance costs have risen dramatically. It has been very difficult for us to obtain insurance for our river and drainage scheme assets, so we decided to partially self-insure these assets. The Infrastructure Insurance Reserve Rate will strengthen our financial position and help us self-insure our extensive but vital scheme assets, such as stopbanks, culverts, pump stations, and floodgates.
 
The rate is being paid on a per property basis with the amount a property pays depending on its capital value. The bands of rates are:

 

Property Value 2019-20 UAC 20120-21 UAC
Up to and including $250,000 $2.19 $1.94
Greater than $250,000 up to and including $500,000 $4.37 $3.88
Greater than $500,000 up to and including $1,000,000 $6.56 $5.81
Greater than $1,000,000 $28.42 $25.17

This money will be held in reserve and used to keep debt levels lower (to enable sufficient borrowing room in the event of a flood or earthquake.) The need to rate for this reserve will be reviewed each year during the annual plan process. Every three years during our Long-term Plan process we will also review the need to hold onto the reserve balance.
 
Due to re-evaluations on Palmerston North properties, many have now gone up a level.


 

Property & Rates

What was removed to take the proposed average rate increase from 5.95 to the adopted 1.0 per cent?

Most of the programmes under the proposed 5.95% have been removed and a few will be funded differently. These include:

  • Additional climate change resourcing, as well as increased capacity in emergency management and river management.
  • Increased capacity in policy and iwi engagement to address the anticipated influx of change coming from central government.
  • Additional freshwater resource to assist with field monitoring and to provide science advice to support policy development.
  • Increased lake monitoring and restoration activities to support increased recreational suitability for Whanganui Lakes.
  • Staff salary increases, inflation costs, fuel increases have been removed.
  • Loan repayment periods being extended for the One Plan and parts of River Management.
  • Capex usage this year and next have been revisited, lowering loan and depreciation costs.
  • A range of savings have been found across the organisation, for River Management in particular.
  • Some reorganisation of budgets has occurred to incorporate priority spend, predominately offset by savings.
  • Capital Expenditure for the Lake Horowhenua Boat ramp has been added with a repayment plan from the Lake Horowhenua Restoration rate.

Property & Rates

Who decides Horizons' activities?

Horizons has certain responsibilities mandated from Central Government. Council also actively consults with our communities through the Long-term Plan and Annual Plan processes to ensure we represent the wishes of our ratepayers, and utilise ratepayers’ money in ways the community will benefit the most from.

Property & Rates

Who gets a rates bill from Horizons?

Everyone who owns a property in the Horizons Region will get a rates invoice from Horizons.

Property & Rates

Why am I now paying a Tararua District wide (TRM) scheme rate?

We have dissolved the Akitio, Eastern Manawatū and Ihuraua Schemes, and created a district-wide Tararua River Management (TRM) Scheme. Previous contributors to these schemes now pay the district-wide TRM scheme rate instead as of , as budgeted in the LTP, and therefore there is no rate increase to previous contributors. However, for all other ratepayers in the district, the TRM Scheme rate is now in its third year.

Property & Rates

Why am I paying for drinking water?

The recent enquiry into the contamination of the Havelock North public water supply has highlighted a number of areas for improvement in the management of public water supplies throughout New Zealand. To ensure the relevant agencies meet their requirement regarding the protection of drinking water quality, Horizons is working in consultation with local public health officers and territorial authorities to improve overall management of drinking water supplies. The cost to the ratepayer is $1.05 (GST inclusive).

Property & Rates

Why do I get a rates bill from my city/district council and Horizons?

Horizons is a completely separate organisation to your city/district council. City or district councils are responsible for community services in your area such as road maintenance, libraries, recreation areas and land use.
Horizons are your Regional Council and manage the natural resources such as land, air and water across several city and district council territories. We are also responsible for emergency management in conjunction with Civil Defence, and provide public transport services to many of our communities.

We have been sending out rates directly to ratepayers since 2002. Prior to 2002, Horizons rates were collected on our behalf by the city and district councils. We made the change to direct rating because we believe that you need to know more about how your money is spent.
 

Property & Rates

Why do I pay a House Flood rate ($476.79) when my neighbours don't and we both pay rates towards the Lower Manawatū Scheme?

Since the LMS rating system was adopted in June 2009, Council has received a number of submissions in respect of the fairness of application of the HF category rate. Since the rate has been applied, there have been a few changes to ensure we are rating fairly to those affected. These changes include:
 
1. All those rural houses that receive flood protection from the LMS but where the depth of inundation in a 100-year flood would be less than 50 mm have been exempted from the HF rate.
 
2. The Feilding urban flood protection rating boundary has been modified to include an area immediately to the North of Feilding that is presently being developed as an extension to the urban area. By being shifted into the urban category, houses in that extension area will no longer pay the HF rate, but will now pay the lesser Feilding urban (FG) rate.
 
3. The Palmerston North urban flood protection rating boundary has been modified to include an area to the West of the City between Longburn-Rongotea/Shiriiffs Road and the Mangaone Stream and between No. 1 Line and the Manawatū River. That area is rapidly developing as an extension to the present City urban area. By being shifted into the urban category, houses in that developing area will no longer pay the HF rate but will now pay the lesser Palmerston North urban (PN) rate. All other rural houses (777 of them) will continue to be rated in the HF category.

Property & Rates

Why do we need Freshwater Management?

Freshwater is a high priority for both central government, and our communities. The freshwater and partnership programme aims to protect and enhance water quality and aquatic habitat including through partnership with landowners, iwi and external agencies. Much of this work includes riparian planning and stream fencing, as well as repairs to fish passages.

Property & Rates

Why does Horizons put out a rates brochure?

Horizons believes that it is important that you have a clear understanding of what your rates pay for and the benefits that you receive, and we’ve had feedback that more communication is desired. Every council in the country does this and it is part of our philosophy of being transparent about what we do. We encourage you to recycle this brochure if you do not wish to keep it for future reference.

Property & Rates

Why have I been charged a new rate living in Ohakune?

On 1 July 2019, a new river management Scheme commenced in Ohakune following a request from the community to better manage the waterways within the town and help reduce flood risk.  

Property & Rates

Why have I been charged a new rate living in Ruapehu?

On 1 July 2019 a new district-wide river management Scheme for the Ruapehu District commenced following public consultation about the management of Ruapehu’s river systems. The aim of this Scheme is to provide a better level of service and advice to landowners outside of the existing River Scheme areas.

Property & Rates

Why have I received separate invoices for each of my properties?

Customers with more than five invoices can request to receive one invoice for all properties which also means only one payment will need to be made.
 

Property & Rates

Why have my Foxton scheme rates changed?

A review of the Foxton East Scheme was undertaken in 2018-19 which identified the need to undertake some significant capital works within the scheme and to change the way that we distribute the rates across the entire scheme. The rating classification includes a targeted rate over the whole of the rural catchment to the east of the township plus a targeted rate over the urban area.

Property & Rates

Why have my Whanganui Scheme rates increased?

The river infrastructure is in relatively poor condition, posing a risk to that infrastructure/development, a matter highlighted by the port revitalisation project. The lower reach of the river has now been added to the areas of responsibility covered by that scheme, covering inspection maintenance of this infrastructure and manage the alignment of the lower reach of the river, including the moles located at the mouth.

Property & Rates

Why haven't I received a rates bill?

If you have recently bought or sold the property the required details may not have been forwarded to Horizons. If you have changed your postal address and forgotten to tell us please do so. We will then issue you with a copy or a new rates notice.

Property & Rates

Why is Horizons' General Rate based on Capital Value?

General rates of regional councils may be made on either a land value or capital value basis. We were directed to use the capital value system by the Local Government (Manawatū-Whanganui Region) Reorganisation Order 1989, which established the Council. The Local Government Commission considered the different rating systems during the process of forming the Reorganisation Order and their decision was for the capital system.
 
Other Councils in our area:

  • Palmerston North City Council     Land Value
  • Manawatū District Council             Capital Value
  • Whanganui District Council           Land Value
  • Horowhenua District Council        Land Value
  • Tararua District Council                 Land Value
  • Ruapehu District Council               Land Value
  • Rangitīkei District Council              Capital Value
  • Part Waitomo                                  Capital Value
  • Part Taupō                                       Capital Value
  • Part Stratford                                   Capital Value

Property & Rates

Why is my invoice two pages?

The purpose of the two page invoice is to give you more information about what services and benefits that you receive for your rates. In the past you have received very little basic information and there have been complaints about this, so the two page invoice is in direct response to requests for more information. The majority of the information provided within your invoice is legislatively required, and therefore cannot be removed.