New scale of charges for food premises

New fees, charges move towards user-pays process.

New fees, charges move towards user-pays process.

"There are fees to be paid and it is all for public safety, but I do not want fees to increase exponentially that they cannot afford to be in business." Mayor Meng Foon. File picture.

THE Council is seeking feedback on a new regime of fees and charges for food premises, and those that demonstrate safe food management will not likely have to pay more under any new fee scale.

Gisborne District Council has approved a statement of proposal for the fees and charges under the Food Act that will go out for consultation.

Healthy living team leader Judith Robertson said the new charging regime was similar to the existing one but there were some differences.

While the value of the fees and charges was similar for each type of business, the difference was that council staff wanted to split them into two components: one for registration and one for verification.

Businesses that did well and were using their premises as intended cost less time. Poor players who were presenting unsafe food, and with whom officers needed to interact more, would be charged for their actual time, which at the moment they were not.

As staff delved into the act they found there was great opportunity for businesses to bundle their permits and it was anticipated the council’s income might be a few thousand dollars less.

But over five years, as businesses changed hands and new ones started, they estimated the income would be similar.

The whole intent was to create a user-pays process. It was not meant to be a profit-driven regime. It was a service and the council had a legal obligation to participate in it. This was similar to a warrant of fitness programme.

Philanthropy projects not charged

People or organisations fundraising for philanthropy did not fit under this regime and would not be charged.

Charitable trusts could have up to 20 stalls a year while people who were doing a one-off festival, such as a family or cultural event, would also not be charged.

Marae were not part of this regime unless they were selling food, and most marae in the district do not do that. Fundraising for a marae was regarded as charitable and they did not need to register or pay fees to the council.

Travel costs for staff were paid for from general rates. What they were seeking to recover from this regime was the actual on-site time spent with businesses.

Sports clubs that sold alcohol had to provide food but came into a low-level category. The return period for registration was longer as well so they might get two years instead of one.

In answer to Roger Haisman, Judith Robertson said liquor stores were included in the regime because they sold ice, which was a consumable, and there were some basic safety controls around that. They fitted in the lowest category and were checked once and never again unless they did things poorly.

Mayor Meng Foon said this regime was going out for consultation and the council was going to get some feedback.

“I just want to signal that my main concern is that food premises already struggle now with any fees,” he said.

“There are fees to be paid and it is all for public safety, but I do not want fees to increase exponentially that they cannot afford to be in business.

“That is my primary concern but we will wait for the submissions.”

THE Council is seeking feedback on a new regime of fees and charges for food premises, and those that demonstrate safe food management will not likely have to pay more under any new fee scale.

Gisborne District Council has approved a statement of proposal for the fees and charges under the Food Act that will go out for consultation.

Healthy living team leader Judith Robertson said the new charging regime was similar to the existing one but there were some differences.

While the value of the fees and charges was similar for each type of business, the difference was that council staff wanted to split them into two components: one for registration and one for verification.

Businesses that did well and were using their premises as intended cost less time. Poor players who were presenting unsafe food, and with whom officers needed to interact more, would be charged for their actual time, which at the moment they were not.

As staff delved into the act they found there was great opportunity for businesses to bundle their permits and it was anticipated the council’s income might be a few thousand dollars less.

But over five years, as businesses changed hands and new ones started, they estimated the income would be similar.

The whole intent was to create a user-pays process. It was not meant to be a profit-driven regime. It was a service and the council had a legal obligation to participate in it. This was similar to a warrant of fitness programme.

Philanthropy projects not charged

People or organisations fundraising for philanthropy did not fit under this regime and would not be charged.

Charitable trusts could have up to 20 stalls a year while people who were doing a one-off festival, such as a family or cultural event, would also not be charged.

Marae were not part of this regime unless they were selling food, and most marae in the district do not do that. Fundraising for a marae was regarded as charitable and they did not need to register or pay fees to the council.

Travel costs for staff were paid for from general rates. What they were seeking to recover from this regime was the actual on-site time spent with businesses.

Sports clubs that sold alcohol had to provide food but came into a low-level category. The return period for registration was longer as well so they might get two years instead of one.

In answer to Roger Haisman, Judith Robertson said liquor stores were included in the regime because they sold ice, which was a consumable, and there were some basic safety controls around that. They fitted in the lowest category and were checked once and never again unless they did things poorly.

Mayor Meng Foon said this regime was going out for consultation and the council was going to get some feedback.

“I just want to signal that my main concern is that food premises already struggle now with any fees,” he said.

“There are fees to be paid and it is all for public safety, but I do not want fees to increase exponentially that they cannot afford to be in business.

“That is my primary concern but we will wait for the submissions.”

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