Proposed changes to the rating of Māori land

Parliament is currently considering significant changes to the rating of Māori land which will affect all current and future Māori landowners. These proposed changes are part of the Government’s wider commitment to supporting whānau and regional development through whenua.

Photo: Hone Dalton (Operations Manager) and Talya Marsh (Business Support) from Te Kotahitanga e Mahi Kaha Trust in Kaikohe. The Trust provides education and training services for rangatahi including land-based training. Minister Mahuta made the announcement on the proposed changes to the rating of whenua Māori on their training establishment in February 2020. Photo by Josie McClutchie.

The Local Government (Rating of whenua Māori) Amendment Bill was introduced into Parliament in February 2020.

You can check on the Bill’s progress here.

Proposed changes

The proposed legislative changes to support the use and development of Māori land will:

  • provide local authorities with the power to remove rates arrears
  • make most unused land non-rateable including Ngā Whenua Rāhui kawenata land that has been set aside for conservation purposes
  • provide a statutory rates remission process for Māori land under development
  • allow multiple Māori land blocks from a parent block to be treated as one for rating purposes
  • enable individual houses on Māori land to be rated as if they were one rating unit. This will enable low income homeowners on blocks with more than one home to access rates rebates.

The current legislation relating to the rating of Māori land has remained largely unchanged for almost 100 years. Other changes to modernise the legislation affecting the rating of Māori land will:

  • provide protection to Māori land made general land by the Māori Affairs Amendment Act 1967 from being leased or sold as “abandoned land sales”
  • remove the arbitrary two-hectare limit on the non-rateability for marae and urupā
  • extend the non-rateability for marae to all land, not just those on a Māori reservation
  • clarify the obligations on trustees to declare income received from land if requested to ascertain rates liability
  • clarify that homes on Māori reservations are liable for rates
  • reference the preamble of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 in relevant local government legislation to signal the intent of the rating changes.

For more information

Question and Answers

You can read frequently asked questions and answers about the Bill.



An introductory guide to the proposed changes to the rating of whenua Māori.


Summary of proposals

A summary of the key changes to the law relating to the rating of Māori land.


Legislative guide

A guide to help you find the specific provisions which relate to the key changes in the Bill.


Cabinet papers

These papers sought Cabinet approval to introduce the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill.



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