The Bushmere Trust, a kiwifruit grower, took the Gisborne District Council to the Land Valuation Tribunal last year 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 to $4.1m.
Earlier this week, 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.
Reacting to the decision today, NZKGI, which represents growers, said it was disappointed with the High Court's judgement: "NZKGI has advocated strongly on behalf of kiwifruit growers and recognises the importance of these proceedings as they are the first in New Zealand and thus precedent-setting," chief executive Colin Bond said.
"Increasing industry costs can make the kiwifruit industry a less attractive investment and reduce growers spend in local communities, ultimately impacting upon economies across New Zealand. Gisborne growers return over $80m to the Gisborne economy and should be supported by their council. In 2022, growers paid a median of $921,150 (incl. GST) per hectare for SunGold licence.”
"This result is not just an issue for kiwifruit growers in the Gisborne district as the decision could be wide-ranging with other councils across New Zealand indicating that they will follow suit.”