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Ratepayer views ignored in abolition of Boards

13 September 2006
For immediate release

Ratepayers’ views ignored in abolition of Community Boards says Rural Women New Zealand

Rural Women New Zealand is appalled by Tasman District Council’s final decision to abolish the Golden Bay and Motueka Community Boards as part of its representation review under the Local Government Act.

The vast majority of residents who made submissions on the review – 696 out of 733 – called for the Council to retain the representation status quo, which it initially agreed to do.

But in an abrupt change of heart the Council has now decided to do away with its Community Boards, (established after the abolition of the Motueka and Golden Bay borough councils in 1989), despite the fact that they are particularly effective in expressing the needs and wishes of the communities they represent.

Many locals had hoped the review would give the Boards greater delegated powers, in line with Boards in Southland and Canterbury, and were shocked when the Council made the surprise decision to do away with them altogether.

Under the new proposed arrangements, Tasman District will have 10 councillors representing about a quarter of the land area, leaving three councillors to represent communities in the remaining three- quarters, an onerous task indeed, particularly as Tasman District Council is a unitary council, responsible for the tasks normally undertaken by a regional council as well as a district council.

“It will be impossible for three councillors to effectively or fairly represent these widespread rural communities, yet fair and effective representation is a requirement under the Act,” said Sherrill Dackers, Rural Women New Zealand’s National President today.

It is also a requirement under the Act that a local authority must consider the views and preferences of people likely to be affected by its decisions. 696 people have spoken. It is time they were heard.


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