Managing debt

Our responsibility

Rates are funds collected by us from levies on properties. Rates and service charges are used to fund, or assist with funding, all Council activities. Your rates help us provide the things that make the Far North a great place to live and work. They help fund our day-to-day operations and the services that benefit us all - from community facilities to core infrastructure such as roading and water.

What have we done to help?

It is the ratepayer’s responsibility to ensure that the rates and water invoices are paid as they fall due. Council recognises the economic hardship faced by some ratepayers, and we took steps to provide better support in these circumstances.

In 2015 Council decided to no longer charge penalties on arrears balances on the rate accounts. Now we charge 10% to any portion of the current instalment not paid on or before the due date shown.

Council has adopted criteria for considering requests for remission (credit) of rates penalties and created Rates EasyPay to allow ratepayers to pay off their rates and any arrears over a period of time.

How can we help you manage?

If you live in a low income household, there are options available to reduce the burden.

  • If you are on a low income and own and live at your property, then you may be eligible for a Department of Internal Affairs' Rates Rebate Scheme.
  • If you are over 65, on a low income, and own and live at your property, then you may be eligible to apply to postpone your residential rates. For further information read our Residential Rates for Senior Citizens brochure.
  • Contact Council to calculate weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments via Rates EasyPay(PDF, 272KB) for your rates or water.

If these options are not available to you and you need help, contact us on 0800 920 029 and ask to speak with our debt management team to discuss options and agree to a payment arrangement. 

The debt management team is based in Kaikohe but also visit the other Service Centres during normal operational hours. If you want to meet with one of the team at headquarters or at your local Service Centre, contact the debt management by phone or email revenuerecovery@fndc.govt.nz to arrange an appointment.

What happens if you don’t pay your property rates

If a suitable arrangement cannot be made to pay the arrears Council will consider other means to collect the outstanding debt. This can include contacting the mortgage holder, or other debt collection methods.

Arrears (debt) is any amount on your rates account you still owe after 30 June.

Mortgagee process

If you have a mortgage on your property, we will notify your mortgagee (usually a bank) after the fourth instalment due date has expired. After that date, we inform them that, if you do not pay the outstanding amount within 90 days, we will request that they (the mortgagee) make this payment on your behalf.

When you don’t have a mortgage on your property

If you don’t have a mortgage on your property and we do not receive payment or communication from your regarding the debt on your account, we will issue a final demand for payment.

If you have not paid the outstanding amount by the stated date, we will refer the matter to our legal representatives to recover the debt.