New Governance Structure approved for Hamilton City Council
Hamilton City Council’s new committee structures were confirmed at last week’s Council meeting.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate’s proposed 2019/20 Governance Structure, including Committees and Chairs, was approved on 28 November 2019. Under the Local Government Act, design of the structure is one of the powers of the Mayor.
The Council also approved the delegations and terms of reference.
The Council meets six-weekly (or as required) and four of the seven committees also meet six-weekly. These are the Finance Committee, Strategic Growth Committee, Infrastructure Operations Committee and Community Committee.
Three further committees have been established: the Economic Development Committee and Environment Committee which will meet quarterly (or as required) and the Hearings and Engagement Committee which meets as required.
The Council also has a Strategic Risk and Assurance Committee which has an external Chair and Deputy Chair and meets quarterly (or as required).
Each of the four main committees have delegations common to their roles. They will develop strategies, plans and policies for public consultation and/or engagement as well as approve or recommend new or amended policies to the Council. The committees will also develop the statement of proposal for new and amended bylaws for consultation.
Within the scope of their committee, they will approve submissions to external organisations, approve and monitor contracts and recommend the establishment of advisory groups or hearings panels, and their terms of reference, to Council for approval.
Committees, roles and membership
Keeping our city running, enabling growth, and investing in maintenance and upgrading of roads, pipes and our community facilities for 170,000 residents is a big business. The current 10-Year Plan anticipates an average investment of around $500M per year. Oversight of the city’s financial strategy and performance is the role of the Finance Committee.
The Finance Committee is chaired by Cr Rob Pascoe, with Cr Maxine van Oosten as deputy. The Mayor, all Councillors, and Maangai Maaori Bella Takiari-Brame are members of the committee.
The committee sets the direction of the Council’s financial strategy and monitors the strategy and its financial performance against the Long-Term Plan and Annual Plan. Within its delegation, it decides financial matters and makes recommendations to the Council on matters outside its delegations.
It approves operating expenditure in line with the Long-Term or Annual Plan and has oversight of policies including the Council’s policies relating to rating and rates remissions.
Strategic Growth Committee
Hamilton is one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing cities. Strategic planning is critical to enable and support quality future growth while maintaining our city’s liveability. Balancing how that growth is funded, ensuring we have the right data to plan from, and enhancing collaboration across the wider region to develop a cohesive approach to growth are just some of the key roles of the Strategic Growth Committee.
The Strategic Growth Committee is chaired by Cr Dave Macpherson, with Cr Ryan Hamilton as deputy. The Mayor, all Councillors, and Maangai Maaori James Whetu are members of the committee.
The committee provides oversight for strategic land-use planning, boundary alignment, and existing and alternative planning, funding and financing models for growth-related projects. The committee also drives collaboration with neighbouring councils, iwi, private sector and central government to meet Hamilton’s growth ambitions and is responsible for developing our Smart City strategy.
The committee considers the environmental impacts of urban development and will develop Infrastructure Activity Management Plans for the coming Long-Term Plan as well as providing direction on how Hamilton’s infrastructure network is prioritised to align with a growing city. Policies the committee oversees include the Development Contributions Policy and the Growth Funding Policy.
Infrastructure Operations Committee
Providing essential services to the city is one of the most visible parts of the Council’s work and it’s crucial for community health and wellbeing. High-quality, dependable water supplies, effective and efficient treatment of waste, collection of rubbish and recycling and managing how we get around our city on all modes of transport are things a well-run city relies on. Oversight of our day-to-day operations is managed by the Infrastructure Operations Committee.
The Infrastructure Operations Committee is chaired by Cr Angela O’Leary, with Cr Martin Gallagher as deputy. The Mayor, all Councillors, and Maangai Maaori Norm Hill are members of the committee.
The committee manages all our infrastructure operational plans and strategies, as well as the contracts which support them. Guiding discussion around innovation for these services, as well as facilitating engagement and consultation with the community and other stakeholders is the committee’s responsibility, as is ensuring our infrastructure networks and the services we provide meet the requirements of applicable legislation and our consents.
The committee develops policies and provides direction on our involvement in regional alliances, plans, initiatives and forums for joint infrastructure and shared services and monitors our service delivery targets as well as how we are tracking through our Long-Term Plan.
Key policies and bylaws the committee has oversight for include our bylaws for water, wastewater, solid waste, traffic, speed limits and our bylaw relating to earthquake-prone, dangerous or insanitary buildings.
Having great places for people to interact, play sport, enjoy the arts and celebrate our cultures drives the liveability of our city and the wellbeing of Hamiltonians. Making sure we plan and implement strategies to deliver what our community wants and expects in this area is the responsibility of the Community Committee.
The Community Committee is chaired by Cr Mark Bunting, with Cr Kesh Naidoo-Rauf as deputy. The Mayor, all Councillors, and Maangai Maaori Olly Te Ua and Te Pora Thompson-Evans are members of the committee.
The committee provides governance for our recreational and community facilities, amenities, and events as well as facilitating community and stakeholder involvement in discussion about community infrastructure, safety and wellbeing. The committee is also responsible for making sure our civil defence and emergency management performance is to the highest standard.
The committee manages Council’s funding priorities for community grants, approves applications for Council projects suitable for external funding, approves public art proposals and provides input for the Council’s events sponsorship fund.
The committee has oversight of more than 20 of Hamilton’s policies and bylaws, including those relating to animal control, public places, alcohol, road naming, city honours, smoke-free environments and gambling.
Hearings and Engagement Committee
Part of the role of Council is to conduct hearings and make decisions in line with legislation relating to the Council’s quasi-judicial functions. That task is undertaken by the Hearings and Engagement Committee.
The Hearings and Engagement Committee is chaired by Cr Martin Gallagher, with Cr Angela O’Leary as deputy. Committee members are the Mayor and all Councillors. Maangai Maaori representatives are members if the meetings involve matters relevant to another committee they are a member of.
As well as conducting fair and effective hearings under legislation and other matters as referred to the committee, it will also consider and determine changes relating to traffic and speed limit bylaws, including hearing submissions on proposed changes. Other areas it considers are objections under the Dog Control Act, proposals for temporary road closures and matters regarding drainage and works on private land under application legislation.
Strategic Risk and Assurance Committee
Hamilton City Council manages billions of dollars’ worth of assets on behalf of its communities and provides services to 170,000 residents. Effective and transparent governance of the Council’s management of these assets, its financial and non-financial risks, and engagement with internal and external audit processes is the role of the Strategic Risk and Assurance Committee.
The Strategic Risk and Assurance Committee chair and deputy chair are both external appointments: Keiran Horne and Bruce Robertson respectively. Other members of the Committee are the Mayor, the chairs of the four main committees, (Crs Rob Pascoe, Dave Macpherson, Angela O’Leary and Mark Bunting), and the Maangai Maaori representative on the Finance Committee – Bella Takiari-Brame.
The committee provides objective advice and recommendations to the governing body on the Council’s risk management and assurance framework and external reporting. It reviews related Council policies including those around risk management, conflicts of interest and sensitive expenditure, monitors emerging risks and does periodic in-depth reviews of specific significant risks.
It also reviews the adequacy of the Council’s risk mitigation actions and insurance policies, engages with the Council’s external auditors and reviews the effectiveness of the Long-Term Plan and Annual Plan audits.
Built on the country’s mightiest river, and with many areas of green space and natural habitats for indigenous and exotic plants and animals, Hamilton is blessed with environmental treasures. Providing guidance and oversight of the Council’s strategies, policies and plans relating to the wellbeing, protection, enhancement and sustainability of the city’s natural environment is the role of the Environment Committee.
The Environment Committee is chaired by Cr Margaret Forsyth, with Cr Sarah Thomson as deputy. Committee members are the Mayor (ex-officio) and Crs Mark Bunting, Angela O’Leary, Kesh Naidoo-Rauf and Dave Macpherson. The Maangai Maaori representative is Norm Hill.
The committee will develop the Council’s approach and response to the issues of climate change, the sustainable use of the city’s natural resources and the Council’s corporate environmental sustainability. Developing policies and strategies for efficient and sustainable waste management and recycling within the city, as well as guiding the Council’s biodiversity planning are also key roles.
To fulfil its purpose and terms of reference, the committee may request expert external advice through the Chief Executive as necessary.
Economic Development Committee
Hamilton is a city on the rise. People want to live, work, play and do business here. The city’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an indicator of its economic growth, has been tracking ahead of the New Zealand average since 2017 and was estimated at $8.28B in September 2019. Providing oversight for the city’s economic agenda and investment opportunities which are consistent with the Council’s vision is the role of the Economic Development Committee.
The Economic Development Committee is chaired by Cr Ryan Hamilton, with Cr Ewan Wilson as deputy. Committee members are Mayor Paula Southgate (ex-officio), Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor, Crs Martin Gallagher, Rob Pascoe and Maxine van Oosten, and Maangai Maaori representatives Olly Te Ua and Te Pora Thompson-Evans.
Among the committee’s responsibilities are driving and enhancing Hamilton’s economic position by actively promoting the city, as well as promoting investment and attraction of business opportunities in the wider Waikato region. The committee provides advice on economic strategic initiatives and reviews and monitors the city’s Economic Development Agenda.
It will also consider funding for Business Improvement District(s), Hamilton and Waikato Tourism and Te Waka through the Council's Long-Term Plan process, monitor the performance of Council’s major event venues operation (H3), and approve annual event sponsorship funding applications.
The committee will make recommendations to the Council on purchase, sale or lease of properties owned by the Council or its endowment funds.