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Can I get a discount on my rates?

Yes, for this rating year 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2020.

If all rates owing (this includes arrears, penalty and current) are paid in full by the due date 27 September 2019, a discount of 3% will be allowed on the current rates. The discount applies to the current year only. The 2019-2020 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.

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

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 The discounted amount will be withdrawn after the due date and the discount will no longer be reflected on your property’s account.

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 candownload 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.

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.

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.

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 2019-20 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 2019/20 year this equates to 30 cents per $100,000 of capital value for the Ashhurst rate payer.

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 $34.18 has been applied to properties over 4 hectares in size and a $9.20 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.

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.

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.

What do I get for my rates money?

Our Region is diverse and the hazards, pests and risks faced within it can vary from place to place. However, most activities have some benefit to all in the community.

For this reason, a portion of your rates bill is general shared rates, which go towards those services that benefit everyone.

To find out specifically where your rates are going, please check the classification codes, typically on the second page of your annual invoice.

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 27 September 2019. 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.

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.

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..

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 this year is set at $45.04 per rateable property.

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 will be launched in August 2016. To find out more about Accelerate25 visit www.accelerate25.co.nz.

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 ($38.94) per property throughout the region, Tōtara Reserve our only regional park ($4.33) per Palmerston North and per Manawatū properties and environmental initiatives ($22.15) 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.

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.
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.

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.

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 $415,000 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.

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.

What is the Reid Line floodway and why has it's rate increased?

The Reid Line floodway is located on the outskirts of Feilding township. During flood events it is used to divert flood flows away from the township. We have identified a need to make improvements to this floodway so that flood flows can be diverted more frequently, and enlarge its capacity to provide Feilding with a 200 year return period flood protection standard. This will require the purchase of some of or all of the private land in the floodway, recontour the floodway to remove the stream culverts that pass through the floodway stopbank, and increase the stopbank height. This proposal complements work that the Manawatū District Council have underway, re-zoning rural land between Feilding and the floodway for residential development and allowing Feilding to continue to grow.

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 Transport Rate.

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 2018-19 UAC 2019-20 UAC
Up to and including $250,000 $2.38 $2.19
Greater than $250,000 up to and including $500,000 $4.76 $4.37
Greater than $500,000 up to and including $1,000,000 $7.14 $6.56
Greater than $1,000,000 $30.92 $28.42

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.


Who decides Horizons' activities?

Horizons has certain responsibilities mandated from Central Government. We also actively consult with the community to ensure we represent the wishes of our ratepayers and utilise ratepayers’ money in ways the community will benefit the most from.

Who gets a rates bill from Horizons?

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

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 will now pay the district-wide TRM scheme rate instead, 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 a new rate (this is its second year) and new level of service.

Why am I now paying rates towards a new Matarawa Scheme?

Horizons staff and contractors are currently clearing the section of the Matarawa Stream that passes through Whanganui, as part of our response to the June 2015 flood event. This reach of the stream was specifically excluded from the Matarawa Scheme when it was first established and accordingly the work currently underway is being funded from general reserves.  We are proposing to spread the cost of repaying the loan over the Whanganui urban area, retaining a smaller maintenance rate once the loan is repaid.

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).

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.

Why do I pay a House Flood rate ($494.77) 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

Why have my Foxton scheme rates changed?

A review of the Foxton East Scheme was undertaken last year 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 new rating classification includes a targeted rate over the whole of the rural area to the east of the township plus a targeted rate over the urban area.  

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.

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.

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

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.