Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


CouncilWatch: Getting A Response From Your Council

Media Release – For Immediate Release – Monday 12 July, 2009

BEGINS

“What Does It Take To Get A Response From Your Council?”

Confused staff, insulting CEOs, and two thirds of Councils potentially breaking the law… welcome to local government in New Zealand

A report released today by Council Watch highlights a lack of knowledge of the law amongst many local body Chief Executive Officers in New Zealand.

The research, which set out to measure the compliance of local authorities with the Local Government Act 2002, turned up serious issues in the way Councils deal with official information requests.

According to the report two thirds of Councils could not or would not provide a copy of their Standing Orders when requested, within the timeframe allowed by the law.

Jim Candiliotis, the group’s Local Democracy Advisor, says the result is shocking – but not surprising. “Councils around the country seem to be struggling to engage with their constituents,” says Mr Candiliotis, “Voting turnout is down, people are less involved in local government affairs, and it is not surprising considering how hard it is to deal with a Council.”

Candiliotis highlights one instance where a CEO emailed a colleague and said he had “no time for groups like these”.

“Who does this person think he is? He has to have time for groups like us… we’re out there being the enemy of apathy!

“Communities are seen as an unpleasant by-product of being in power by some Councils,” says Candiliotis, “Sometimes they feel less like ratepayers and more like toxic waste.”

Council Watch has been in touch with the Office of the Ombudsmen about some of the obstructive behaviour and will be writing this week to the Auditor General and Minister of Local Government.

They are also calling for an investigation by the Minister of Commerce into the behaviour of Standards New Zealand, who hold copyright on a set of Model Standing Orders adopted by some Councils.

“We have been told by some Council staff that Standards New Zealand – a government agency – said they would be breaching copyright if they released their Standing Orders. For one part of the government to force another to withhold official information without legal cause is disturbing,” says Candiliotis.

The research – which is available online at www.councilwatch.org.nz – shows a need for Councils to train their staff better in dealing with information requests and in the understanding of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.



Click for big version


Click for big version

About Council Watch

Council Watch is an initiative started by the New Zealand Resilience Trust with the aim of improving community outcomes across the country. The NZRT believes that strong communities come from improving leadership, developing networks and improving the standard of democracy at a local level. The only agenda is to improve the relationship between citizens and the local government sector. Council Watch’s role is to support residents’ groups, educate the wider public on their rights and responsibilities, and provide unbiased research on the state of the local government sector in New Zealand.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Diver's Alarums: Breach Means Training Provider Must Repay $1.47 Million

The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies is to repay $1.47 million (GST-exclusive) to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) following an investigation which showed that some student enrolments between 2009 -2014 could not be validated and that courses were under-delivered against their agreement with the TEC. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Government Plans Suggest Bulk Funding Return

Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Auckland Looks Long Term To Pay-Per-Km Road Pricing

Aucklanders can expect to be paying variable rates per kilometre to travel on the city's most congested roads under an emerging transport strategy being formulated by the government and the Auckland Council. More>>

ALSO:

Despite Promises: Government Extends Iraq Deployment

Cabinet has agreed to extend New Zealand’s contribution to the joint New Zealand-Australia mission to train Iraqi Security Forces until November 2018. More>>

ALSO:

On The 'Terrorism' Card:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news