Before these rates and taxes could be imposed, the land needed to be valued, and for this purpose valuers were appointed by the Taxation Commissioner and the individual local authorities, all acting quite independently, to prepare the necessary valuation rolls. But in 1882 rationalisation took place to the extent that local authorities rating on the capital value had to obtain their rolls from the Commissioner, with the option of using, if they wished, the capital values assessed thereon. In this latter event the local authorities had some limited powers as regards keeping the rolls up to date.
In 1882, therefore, there were four kinds of valuation rolls in existence, viz.:
The rolls prepared by those boroughs which still rated on the annual (or rental) value;
The Property Tax Commissioner's rolls showing capital values;
Local authority rolls obtained from the Commissioner – complete as to capital values, but maintained by local authority;
Local authority rolls obtained from the Commissioner, but where capital values were assessed by valuers appointed by the local authority. On these rolls, land acquired from the Crown was to be assessed at the price paid, and the values for properties owned by the Crown and Maoris were to be fixed by the Commissioner. In 1893, however, local authorities were again made independent of the Property Tax Commissioner and were permitted to stand on their own feet in compiling their valuation rolls. Three years later, in 1896, the Rating on Unimproved Value Act was passed providing for a further rating system, this to be adopted by a poll of the ratepayers.
By this time the Government Advances to Settlers Act was in operation and valuations were required by the State in those cases where application had been made for an advance on mortgage. Thus it could be said with truth that frequently a property would have at least three valuations assigned to it – for taxation, for rating, and for loan purposes. When one has regard to the shortage of skilled valuers of that time, it is little wonder that there must have been considerable discrepancies and more than a little foundation for allegations that values were set high or low according to the purpose for which the authorities would regard the properties.