This chapter reviews the history of rating systems in New Zealand over the past 150 years, with attention primarily focused on the major administrative, land policy and valuation principles current to 31 December 1997. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world adhering to a rating system based on the value of land exclusive of improvements. New Zealand has two levels of government - central government, a Westminster type parliamentary system, and local government. The local government system is largely independent of the central executive government. However, it has a subordinate role with the powers of local authorities being conferred by Parliament. New Zealand local government is divided into three categories: regional, territorial and special purpose authorities. The Local Government Act 1974 is the statute constituting regional councils and territorial authorities. Their boundaries are usually defined by the Local Government Commission.