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

Is the 8.4 per cent increase the same for everyone?

No. It is important to note that the 8.4 per cent average rate increase does not mean the same increase for everyone. This is because parts of our region, such as Tararua, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu, have recently had changes in property valuations. It is also important to note that other areas in our region may see a negative rate increase for this very same reason. Targeted rates for activities such as river management schemes and passenger transport services also mean your rates bill may differ to your neighbour’s or your neighbouring districts.

Property & Rates

Is there any other way to get a discount on my rates?

No. There is a rates rebate available through your local council and you can avoid any late payment fees by setting up a payment plan, so you don’t have to pay all at once.

Property & Rates

What are Infrastructure Climate Resilience (aka shovel ready) projects?

In 2020 Central Government announced $26.9 million of climate resilience funding for Horizon. This goes toward 4 projects in:

  • Foxton: Enlargement and upgrades to drains, culverts and stopbanks along the eastern side of the town, and diverting floodwater away from Purcell Street and into the Whirokino network.
  • Lower Manawatū: Since the devasting floods of 2004 Horizons has been investing on behalf of ratepayers to increase flood protection for the lower Manawatū, including raising/rebuilding stopbanks, replacing the Kopane. Bridge and constructing the Burke's Pump Station. The money received from central government will help continue this work as the incurred through investing money into improvements was limiting the work we could do.
  • Palmerston North: This expenditure is mostly focused on upgrades to current stopbanks and replacing aging assets, along with new work which will enhance public access to the Manawatū River and Mangaone Stream.
  • Rangitīkei: This project also focuses on resilience as it relates to the Rangitīkei River, specifically the reach from the Bulls Bridge to the sea.
Read more about the Infrastructure Climate Resilience projects.

Property & Rates

What are Jobs for Nature projects?

Horizons has three Jobs for Nature projects, which include further riparian planting and stream fencing across the region to improve freshwater, remediation to fish passages to enhance indigenous fish populations, and Lake Horowhenua water quality interventions. The government has given us $18.4 million towards a total cost of $27 million to deliver the three Jobs for Nature projects over the next 3 years. Council has committed $4.3 million with the balance of $4.3 million coming from landowner contributions.

Property & Rates

What happened to the work that was not completed during Covid?

Last year Council chose to adopt a one per cent rate increase rather than the proposed 5.95 per cent to reduce the strain on our communities through Covid. This means much of the work that was put on hold is now included in 2021-22 financial year, increasing Council’s expenditure.

Property & Rates

What is a Long-term Plan?

A Long-term Plan sets 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 is Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Indicators?

A new website, Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Indicators (MWRI), has been created to reflect the region’s councils’ collaboration and initiatives underway to help with recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Horizons and the region’s seven local councils are working with numerous community and business groups, and organisations and agencies in the recovery. We are working together to ensure we have the information and knowledge needed to make decisions and seize opportunities that will see our region not just survive and revive but thrive. A big part of our collaboration is finding ways to stimulate our region’s social and economic wellbeing. This work includes establishing a Regional Economic Taskforce, Economic Impact Assessments, and ongoing reporting, as well as submitting over 88 shovel ready projects worth $1.05 billion that have the prospect of creating over 15,000 local jobs to central government for funding consideration.

Property & Rates

What is Oranga Wai Our Freshwater Future?

The management of freshwater remains a priority for Horizons, with a particular focus on implementing central government’s Essential Freshwater package. This package includes a revised National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM), new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW), and Resource Management Act s360 regulations for stock exclusion.
 
Horizons is referring to this work as Oranga Wai Our Freshwater Future, which in addition to implementing the new rules and regulations gives consideration to the non-regulatory programmes we offer. We have already introduced many elements of the NES-FW requirements that have stringent timelines and new rules, many of which have already come into effect. The NPS-FM changes require an increase in the level of service in our policy, science, and regulatory areas to enable us to deliver a revised One Plan by 2024 (The One Plan is Horizons resource management planning document).
 
This increase in work equates to $752,000 or $1.16 per $100,000 of capital value in Year 1. As part of the NPS-FM we will be asking our communities and tangata whenua to help shape this policy alongside us.

Find out more about Oranga Wai Our Freshwater Future.

Property & Rates

What is the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI)?

Our region’s problems with hill country erosion were sorely exposed during the February 2004 storm event. In response, representatives from our region’s communities and stakeholder organisations have joined together and formed the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI), which seeks to implement whole farm plans specifically tailored to manage each area of highly erodible land. The aim is to help insure against having to recover from the effects of massive-scale hill erosion in the future. This assists in preventing the silting up of rivers downstream, helping to reduce flooding, and improving water quality.

Property & Rates

What is this Infrastructure Insurance Reserve Rate and why am I no longer being charged for paying it?

In 2013, Council established the Infrastructure Insurance Reserve to initiate a programme of self-insurance for parts of our river and drainage scheme assets. This reserve balance is currently $4.6 million, which affords Council cover for a single significant emergency event, resulting in the need to replace assets. As such, Council has decided not to rate the $500,000 targeted rate from this year.
  
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.
 

Property & Rates

Where is Tōtara Reserve?

Tōtara Reserve is a regional park in the Manawatū District and sits in the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges in the Pohangina Valley. It is used by many people as a recreational area and is a valuable piece of native bush (and the only regional park) in the Horizons Region. We took over management from Manawatū District Council in 2012 and continue to enhance its forest and wildlife, and improve camping facilities, tracks and signage.

Property & Rates

Which areas are in the Horizons Region?

Horizons encompasses the Ruapehu, Rangitīkei, Whanganui, Manawatū, Palmerston North, Tararua and Horowhenua districts, and also some parts of the Taupō, Stratford and Waitomo districts.

Property & Rates

Why am I being charged a general rate when I wasn't last year?

In previous years Council has separated the general rate from other common rates that are applied to properties based on capital value. Interest made on investments has offset the general rate so that the amount charged was zero.

In an effort to simplify your invoice, Council has decided to include the common rates in the general rate charged. This rate funds part of all of the activities that are of a public benefit, where no other direct source of funding is identified to cover the cost of the activities.

Ratepayers can refer to the Rates Explained brochure to see how each rate dollar is allocated.
 

Property & Rates

Why do I pay a House Flood (HF) rate ($482.96) when my neighbours don’t and we both pay rates towards the Lower Manawatū Scheme?

The LMS rating system was adopted in June 2009. 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 have the E3 & E4 differentials on the Rangitīkei River Scheme increased so much?

The reference farm property for these rates has been amalgamated with several other farms, which has increased its capital value significantly. This combined with the revaluation for the Rangitīkei District (30 per cent increase for rural properties) has resulted in a large increase in the area factor used in calculating these differentials. The area factor is calculated by dividing the total capital value by the total area of the reference property.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 am I paying for drinking water?

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

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

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

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 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 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 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 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 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 ($39.36) per SUIP throughout the region, Tōtara Reserve our only regional park ($0.58) per Palmerston North and per Manawatū properties and environmental initiatives ($30.11) on each SUIP 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 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 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 2021-22 is set at $44.35 per SUIP.

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 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 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 24 September 2021. 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

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

I live in the Rangitīkei District and I want to 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 $34.21 has been applied to properties over four hectares in size and a $8.96 charge for those under four 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 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 don't use buses why should I pay for them?

Having a bus service available gives people without private transport an option for travel. It also means fewer cars on the road and an environmentally friendly transport solution. It can be a cost effective way of getting to and from town, work or between towns.
 
In 2020 Horizons did a mid-term review of the Feilding passenger transport service via community consultation. As a result, a new service for Feilding residents will be provided separately to the existing commuter service that operates between Palmerston North and Feilding. This new service will become operational within the 2021 financial year and consists of a targeted rate to Manawatū ratepayers of around $35,000 per year plus inflation.
 
In 2020 we also changed the Massey University and Palmerston North urban bus timetables to meet the new requirements of the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018. A number of employment law changes were made which changed the way we schedule our driver rest and meal breaks. This change resulted in an additional targeted rate of around $46,000 per year, plus inflation, for our Palmerston North ratepayers.

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

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

Is Te Ao Nui owned by Horizons?

It is owned by MWRC Holdings Ltd, 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

Why is there no prompt payment discount?

While the prompt payment discount was introduced by Council with good intentions, it effectively rewards those ratepayers who can afford to pay in full by the due date at the expense of those who may struggle to pay their bill from time to time.