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Council appeals decision on kiwifruit

Tuesday 15 February, 2022.

With support from the Valuer-General, Gisborne District Council is appealing a decision from the Land Valuation Tribunal. The decision relates to the capital value of a gold kiwifruit orchard in the Gisborne district.

The central issue is whether the value of the gold kiwifruit vines and the licence, which enables them to be grown on the land, should be excluded from the capital value of gold kiwifruit orchards. The effect of the Land Valuation Tribunal’s decision is to treat gold kiwifruit orchards the same as other kiwifruit orchards, despite these properties selling for far higher values.

The decision to appeal comes on the advice and support of the Valuer-General, who considers that the Land Valuation Tribunal’s decision is, “inconsistent with past case law decisions and the Rating Valuations Act 1998 requirement to value established vines as improvements. Removal of the gold kiwifruit vine value due to the existence of a licence creates an inequitable outcome for ratepayers, unfairly reducing the rating valuation and rates burden for some property owners and increasing the rates burden for others.”

The costs of the Council’s appeal will be fully borne by the Valuer-General, who considers it to be in the national public interest for the matter to be heard. The Valuer-General will also be joining the proceeding as an interested party.

Gisborne was the first local authority to undergo a triennial revaluation after a consensus had been reached among New Zealand’s valuation service providers that the value of the gold kiwifruit vines should be assessed with no deduction for the licence from the capital value of the properties.

Upon the advice of its valuation service provider, the Council valued the vines as improvements with no deduction for the licence from the capital value of gold kiwifruit orchards in the district for the 2021 revaluation.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann states, “Given the significance of the backing of the Valuer-General and issues raised, there is an obligation on Council to appeal.”

“Council included the value of the vines without a deduction for licences from the capital value of gold kiwifruit orchards in our district,” says Ms Thatcher Swann. “This approach was accepted by the Valuer-General.”

The Bushmere Trust objected to the Council’s valuation and the Land Valuation Tribunal found in favour of the Trust, deciding that the gold kiwifruit licence was neither an improvement nor benefit to the land, so could not be assessed as part of the rating valuation. The issue will now be reheard in the High Court.