Rates glossary

There are different kinds of rates for different kinds of property. Here are the most common rates terms explained.

Fixed charges

  • fixed charges are made to cover the costs of services which can be identified by property (water supply, wastewater disposal, recycling)
  • each property with a similar service pays the same fixed amount
  • significant non-residential water users are metered

Uniform annual general charge

  • a uniform annual general charge is applied to all rateable properties within Palmerston North
  • it ensures each property contributes a minimum amount of the general rate and moderates rates on high value properties
  • the uniform general charge for 2023-24 is $200

General rate

Each property is charged a general rate – based on land value – with different rates (differentials) applying to each property category.

The categories in the Council's differential rating scheme reflect differing property uses:

  • single unit residential
  • multi-unit residential
  • non-residential
  • rural and semi-serviced
  • miscellaneous

Differential surcharges (a higher rate in the dollar) are applied to multi-unit residential and commercial/industrial properties. Single unit residential and rural/semi-serviced properties are charged lower rates.

Single unit residential

  • one house on one section

Multi-unit residential

  • a single dwelling with flat attached
  • Two or more houses, flats or apartments on one certificate of title


  • property used for business or industry

Rural and semi-serviced

  • land that doesn't have access to Council wastewater services


  • miscellaneous describes a range of property uses, including home-based businesses, commercial/industrial in the rural area, and some categories of vacant land