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

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Immigration: Clampdown On Rogue Employers Good First Step

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition is pleased at the new clampdown on rouge employers who exploit migrants announced by Minister Woodhouse this morning, and believes this is a step in the right direction. More>>

ALSO:

Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington (Over A Decade)

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Christchurch Quake Memorial Unveiled

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. More>>

ALSO:


November Quakes:

Gordon Campbell: On The Mana-Maori Party Deal

If the self-interest involved wasn’t so blatant, the electorate deal between the Maori Party and Hone Harawira would be kind of poignant. It’s a bit like seeing the remaining members of Guns’n’Roses or the Eagles back on the road touring the nostalgia circuit… playing all the old hits of Maori unity and kaupapa Maori politics. More>>

ALSO:

Private Provision: First Social Bond To Focus On Mental Health

New Zealand’s first social bond will help around 1700 people with mental illness into work, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams say. More>>

ALSO:

Immigration: Short Reprieve For Nine Indian Students

A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party says. More>>

EARLIER:


Megaupload Case: High Court Rules Dotcom, Co-Accused Eligible For Extradion

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused are eligible for extradition to the United States, New Zealand's High Court ruled... Justice Murray Gilbert upheld a decision by the District Court that there were grounds for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to be extradited. More>>

ALSO:

PREVIOUSLY:

Port Hills Fire: Midday Update, Monday 20 February

• 9 homes destroyed
• 2 homes with partial damage. Damage includes things like cracked windows, heat damage.
• 3 properties with damage to other external structures e.g sheds or outbuildings More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news