Q. V. on the Qui Vive

by Robert Keall

There is significant irony in the report attached.

Around the year 1900, the Government Valuation Department was set up to cater for the rapid spread of Land Value Rating after it became possible in 1896¹, and for the 1878 Land Tax which, by 1922, accounted for 10% of the Budget.

The Department functioned professionally, and sometimes challenged its own valuations in the Land Valuation court in order to maintain consistency across the country, or to resolve anomalies. The Department here was a matrix for the world. In America, Appraisers are elected by popular vote!

By about 1960 the Department could value the whole country annually on land value only. It still did Capital Valuations for the diminishing number of municipalities still requiring it, and for Death Duty purposes and the like.

Around 1990 the Department was largely dismantled as part of the assault on the Socialist State. An S.O.E (State Owned Enterprise), Quotable Value was retained to compete with private valuers tendering to Local Government. A Ministry of Valuation purported to exercise oversight in a situation where Local Government Rating law required Local Government “to exercise subjective and political judgement concerning Rating” (Local Government Amendment Act No. 3, 1996).

Those tendering for the Valuation Roll would also advise on the merits of Capital Value v Land Value as the Rating base, if that's what the Council wanted to hear. Capital Value was, of course, more onerous and warranted a higher fee.

Around that time the Progressive Party proposed re-instating and increasing the Land Tax only to discover that Local Government now had their own 3 yearly valuations at disparate dates. This made a national Land Tax impracticable.

Later, there were different valuations for Rating purposes and for market purposes. This reflected the unreal property booms. Annual Rental Value Rating persists only in Auckland and, lately, Manukau. It allows the Council to set the valuations in order to achieve different social agendas, assisted with contrived Differentials other than for tax deductibility.

¹ By 1982, 86 years later, Land Value Rating had been adopted by 90% of municipalities and accounted for 80% of Local Government revenue.