NZ High Court rules SunGold kiwifruit licences can be included in property RV

Last year, kiwifruit grower Bushmere Trust took the Gisborne District Council to the Land Valuation Tribunal after the council changed its ratings to include the value of the licenses in the property's capital value. That took the nearly six hectare property's rateable value from $2.8 million to $4.1 million. The Tribunal ruled the capital value was only $2.8 million, and the kiwifruit license was "not an improvement to the land or for the benefit of the land".

The High Court heard when such properties were bought and sold, the price paid reflected the value of the vines and licenses which almost always transferred with the properties. This is subject to Zespri's approval to transfer the license which has never been denied.

The Court said those licenses effectively ran with the land, and enhanced its value. It said the capital value - as a proxy for fair market value - included the license. The Court heard the SunGold licenses at September 2020 were worth around $800-900,000 per hectare, compared to green kiwifruit at $300-450,000 per hectare, and $30-50,000 per hectare for crops such as oranges, avocados and feijoa.


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