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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Govt’s Token Plans For Cyber-Security

Basically, the world is divided into two types of people: those who think the Panama Papers illustrate the bad shit that some people do, and those who think the Panama Papers illustrate what needs to be done to make sure no-one else discovers the shit – good or bad – that they’re doing. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac’s Grudging Concession To Reality

Is this any way to run a health system… whereby terminally ill patients are forced into public demonstrations before the government (and its funding agency Pharmac) will grudgingly provide the money for life-saving treatments freely available and publically funded in Australia for the best part of a year? More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Healthy Homes Bill Passes First Reading

Some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children and families are on their way towards safer living conditions with the passing of the first reading of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in Parliament last night, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Home, And A Way

The one thing even more popular than an Auckland house is offering advice on how to afford an Auckland house. So, on the grounds it can’t be worse than some of the stuff that’s out there, here’s my three cents* worth. [*Up 50% since 2013!] More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news