Forestry owners accuse Council of double dipping

The forestry industry says Whanganui District Council is trying to double-dip with its proposed forestry rate. It’s an issue being discussed in other regions in New Zealand as well. The targeted rate would more than double forestry's contribution to roading and is one of three key proposals in council's draft 10-year-plan.

The council estimates the impact of harvesting on roading will cost NZ$225,000 per year over the next six years but it currently only collects NZ$90,000 from forestry properties. Under the proposed targeted rate, forestry properties would pay two and a half times more what they currently pay for roading to make up the balance.

Currently forestry pays an average NZ$4 per hectare in roading rates while the average for other farming land uses is NZ$15 per hectare owing to the relative lower value of forestry land. Arbor Management's Peter Martin, a forest owner himself, told Tuesday's long-term plan submission hearings the proposed rate was "selective and unfair".

He said no one lived on forestry properties but general rates were still charged on them. "As forestry owners we are paying rates for elevators, museums, libraries, roundabouts, Virginia Lake and so it goes on." Instead the general rate paid on forestry properties should be transferred to the roading contribution, Martin said. "That would only be fair. More >>.


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