17,000 oldies could benefit from new rates law
By our Local Govt. Correspondent, Jeremy Smith
More than 17,000 rest-home residents may benefit from legislation that will allow them to claim a rates subsidy.
The change would affect people who live in retirement homes under a licence to occupy but who can’t legally be described as ratepayers under laws going back to 1973.
Present law ‘unfair’
The executive director of the Retirement Villages Association John Collyns says the anomaly is “unfair and inequitable” and the association completely supports the proposed change.
Mr Collyns says the organisation covers 95% of retirement homes through the country, about 35,000 people.
He says their figures show about half that number depend on New Zealand superannuation and could well be eligible for a rates subsidy of $150.
Mr Collyns also say the RVA will work with Internal Affairs to help develop an efficient process for people who want to claim the rebate.
He says privacy will be an issue and people who apply for the rebate must not have to disclose any extra information,
The Kapiti Coast District Council — one of four councils which runs its own rebates scheme — will be making submissions to Parliament about how it might gather the information needed to identify newly-designated ratepayers.
The KCDC says its existing scheme works by dealing directly with the retirement home operators. The council does not have a data base identifying individual residents,
The council also says apart from the cost of developing a new database, identifying the individuals will raise some privacy concerns.