Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Single unitary with strong community representation; NRC

9 April, 2013

Single unitary with strong community representation; NRC

The Northland Regional Council (NRC) is recommending seven local boards with real, legally-protected powers – supported by a single unitary authority – as an alternative form of local government in the region.

However, the regional council’s proposal – approved today (subs: Tuesday 09 April) and to be lodged with the Local Government Commission by Monday 15 April – also makes special mention of strong community support for the retention of the status quo.

Council Chairman Craig Brown says as part of its work processing a bid by the Far North District Council to become a unitary authority in its area, the commission had recently asked other councils in the region to put forward alternatives by the mid-April deadline.

As part of its work on an alternative proposal, a recent series of public consultation workshops and meetings by the NRC in Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Dargaville and Mangawhai over the past fortnight had attracted 167 participants.

“Of the participants willing to express an opinion, the two most favoured options by a considerable margin were either an enhanced version of the status quo or a single local authority underpinned by strong, legally-empowered local boards.”

Councillors attending an extraordinary meeting in Whangarei today (subs: Tuesday 09 April) to discuss the reform issue were told opinion between those two most popular alternatives had been split virtually down the middle, Mr Brown says.

Given the status quo was already one of the options the commission was legally bound to investigate, the regional council had decided to indicate the level of support for the status quo in its alternative proposal, but had specifically introduced the single unitary model as a new alternative.

Under the proposed single unitary model, the region would have seven local boards with yet-to-be-determined – but very real – enshrined powers and budgets to enable local decision-making at a grassroots level. (A law change would still be required to allow those boards to be established in Northland.)

In turn, the boards would be supported by a single regional body, made up of nine councillors (elected from seven wards) and a single mayor, elected from across the entire region.

“We believe this model would deliver truly local decision-making and efficient delivery of local services, but also allow Northland to effectively speak with one collective voice on issues of regional significance when required.”

Mr Brown says the regional council acknowledged that many opportunities for the existing arms of local government to work together over the years had been squandered due to disagreements between them.

Meanwhile, he says while the regional council had recently changed its constituency boundaries for this year’s local body election with the commission’s blessing, it was important to take into account those wards were not necessarily the ones which would come into play under any single unitary model.

The final shape of any proposal recommended by the commission (including potential ward boundaries) was up to the commission – and the commission alone – to determine, albeit taking into account the public’s wishes.

Similarly, the commission had already made clear that the issue of Maori representation on any new council or councils would be up to those new bodies themselves to determine.

“We believe – and our consultation to date has reinforced this – that the Maori representation issue is a matter of real significance that any new council would be required to address as a matter of priority once any transition to a new structure was underway.”

Mr Brown says while he believes both his fellow councillors – and indeed many in the wider Northland community - would have liked more time to better research the implications of any reform, the commission had been adamant over its 15 April deadline.

“Despite this tight deadline, we’re grateful to all those who taken part in the process to date at what was reasonably short notice. It’s now effectively over to the commission to lead the process from here on in.”

Mr Brown says if the commission decides it does want to change the current model of local government in Northland in any way, it will put forward a proposal and invite public submissions over the coming months.

“If that happens, we will continue to seek input from the public to ensure any subsequent submission we make on their behalf is as robust as possible.”

Mr Brown says staff will now make final edits to the alternative proposal ahead of the 15 April deadline. Once completed, it will be available from the regional council’s website via: www.nrc.govt.nz/LGreform

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news