An Auckland Council review into commercial operations on Defence land in Devonport has resulted in an increase of $310,000 in rates to be collected this financial year (2015/16).
In December 2015, Auckland Council began the review into the rateability of the Devonport Naval Base and four satellite Defence properties across the city after Councillor Chris Darby raised the issue with council staff.
Under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, some land is exempt from paying rates such as universities, schools, public hospitals and churches. Defence land is required to pay rates but is subject to special rating treatment. Commercial works that are located on Crown-owned land are required to pay rates in the normal way.
Rating defence property
"Defence property is charged rates on the basis of land value, not its capital value," Auckland Council Group Chief Financial Officer Sue Tindal says.
The review looked into the main Devonport Naval Base and commercial engineering facility Babcock, which operates on a part of Navy-owned land, as 40 Queens Parade, Stanley Point. The review was completed mid-February,
After meeting with Navy and Defence representatives on-site and evaluating the property, it was found the rates council currently sets for this site are correct. While Babcock runs a commercial operation on the site, this is done in partnership with the Navy. It is not possible to separate the operations for rating purposes. As a result the property is rated as Defence land.
"The 40 Queens Parade site has a very high land value and accordingly the Navy is paying higher rates than it would do if it was rated on a capital value basis," Ms Tindal says.
The council review has resulted in it updating the information it holds regarding the main Devonport Naval Base and Babcock.
"We also widened our review, to look into four other Defence-owned properties in Auckland," Ms Tindal says.
Other sites reviewed
The review found rates for two satellite Navy properties, at 7-29 Cautley Street in Stanley Point and 91A-93 Calliope Road in Devonport, will be reduced.
It was found 4.6 hectares of the Cautley Street site was tidal, or seabed, and therefore non-rateable. The land area for the Calliope Road site had been incorrectly assessed. This will result in a reduction of rates for those site, totaling $115,000, backdated over five years.
The second pair of Defence sites considered in the review, 142 Vauxhall Road in Narrow Neck and 204-234 Great North Road in Arch Hill, will have an increase in rates for 2015/16 of $425,000.
"In total, the changes will result in a net rates increase for the Defence of $310,000 for 2015/16," Ms Tindal says.
In light of this review, staff have also begun a review of non-rateable land in Auckland which will be completed within the next two years.