The reply to an OIA request is shown. This gives the reason that the council makes donations (or the term it uses ‘remissions’) to residents of the licence to occupy type retirement villages. The total amounts of $6,000, $5,100 and $5,400 respectively in each of the last three financial years are much smaller than the impression given by its draft submission on the government bill (see earlier). Ratepayers should be relieved at that.
The subsidy is given to the property businesses concerned, but the council requires evidence that it is passed on to the resident; again this is good to know.
The cost to central government taxpayers of extending the rates rebates scheme to these people is likely to be substantial, however. There will also be extra administrative costs to councils.
The question we have is, why should these people get rebates when they are effectively renters? Everyone knows that retirement villages of the licence to occupy type are hideously expensive for the residents — and very profitable businesses for the owners, see earlier posts. They are effectively gated communities for older people, although their standard varies substantially between the different businesses.
The nine such villages in Kapiti are listed below (the list contains 10, but Woodlands and Parkwood in Waikanae are adjacent and the same property business).
There are major discrepancies in land areas, values and rates stated between the different businesses. For example, Parkwood has a land area of 24.8 hectares with a capital value of $49.7 million, while Rymans a.k.a. Charles Fleming is only 7 hectares with a capital value of $57 million. Some of Parkwood comprises swamp (infested by mosquitoes in the summer) but that difference is still highly questionable. It is likely because Parkwood is much older than the others and its values clearly need urgent reassessment.
Based on these figures, Council rates as a percentage of the land values stated for the three Waikanae businesses are: Rymans 13.3, Parkwood 3.8 and Winara 5.5.
As a percentage of the capital values: Rymans .58, Parkwood .66 and Winara .54.