Kāpiti Coast Grey Power has welcomed the Rates Rebates legislation for retirement villages passed by the new Labour-led government. Grey Power President Kevin Burrows says it will go a long way to assist those residents living in retirement villages, a great many of whom are on fixed incomes. He says the bill addresses an anomaly in the Rates Rebate Act 1973, and ensures that retirement village residents are recognised as paying rates and are therefore entitled to apply for a rates rebate regardless of the billing practice of the local authority.
“From 1 July next year eligible retirement village residents with a Right to Occupy Agreement (ROA) will be entitled to a rates rebates on the same basis as people living in their own home with a legal title. This has been an anomaly for some years and we are pleased to see it is being rectified in order that citizens in retirement villages receive the same benefits as other ratepayers,” says Mr Burrows.
The legislation was first introduced to parliament as a private members Bill last year by Labour member Ruth Dyson. It went to a vote and was lost by one vote when the National Party voted against it. The new Labour led government reintroduced it and passed it as part of their 100-day programme.
There are a large number of retirement villages in Kāpiti and they will continue to increase over the next 10 years.
To meet the requirements of the Rates Rebate Act 1973, the village owner will need to provide the holder of the ORA a statement of the amount paid in fees for rates.
“However, there is a problem with the overall uptake of the rebate. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) estimates that only a third of those eligible claim the rebate. While the Kāpiti Coast District Council publicises the availability of the rebate on a regular basis, the situation persists. More needs to be done by the DIA to inform people of their right to a rebate,” says Kevin Burrows.
“People can check if they are eligible for a rebate by going to the Department of Internal Affairs website or going to your local council offices and request an application form.”