:sta= rt Local Government Commission: Update
5 Au= gust 2015
Greetings and welcome to= the latest Local Government Commission newsletter. The newsletter provides i= nformation about the work of the Commission and aims to contribute to discus= sion of local government structures and good practice generally.
Det= ails for how to unsubscribe or how to contact us for more information can be= found at the end of the newsletter.
MEET OUR NEW COMMISSION
New= Commissioners Sir Wira Gardiner and Leigh Auton have been appointed by Mini= ster of Local Government Hon Paula Bennett. Janie Annear has been reappointe= d. Their terms began on 1 August and run for three years.
= Sir Wira Gardiner, KNZM (Chair)
A former professional soldier, Lieutenant-Colonel (Rtd) Sir Wira Gardiner has= a long and distinguished public service career, including extensive governa= nce experience. He was the founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal and fo= unding chief executive of the Ministry of M=C4=81ori Development (Te Puni Kokiri). He has been National D= irector of Civil Defence, Chair of Te Mangai Paho and deputy chair of Te Ohu= Kaimoana. He was Chair of the Tertiary Education Commission between 2010 an= d 2012, and Chair of the Board of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa between 2010 and 2013. Sir Wira= was made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008 for services to= M=C4=81ori. Sir Wira has published a number of books and is currently= working on the history of B Company 28 M=C4=81ori Battalion.
Janie Annear, ONZM
Current Commissioner Janie Annear, who has been a member of the Commission since 1 J= uly 2014 and served three terms as the Mayor of Timaru from 2004 to 2013, ha= s been reappointed. In 2014 Janie was appointed as an Officer of the New Ze= aland Order of Merit for services to local government. In April 2014 she was= appointed by the Minister of Local Government as Temporary Member of the Lo= cal Government Commission and was made a permanent member in July 2014. Janie has experience across a wide ra= nge of private sector, local government and central government roles. She se= rves on the Boards of the Lottery Community Facilities and Significant Proje= cts Funds. She is a Director of Timaru Holdings. She also chairs Aoraki Polytechnic Council.<= /span>
Leigh Auton has extensive local government experience with a particular backgroun= d in planning, infrastructure and transport, and is former Chief Executive o= f Manukau City Council and former interim Chief Executive of Tauranga City C= ouncil. Leigh is Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors, and a Director/Trustee/Chair for a number of= public and private sector entities. He was a member of the Board of Inquiry= for the Men=E2=80=99s prison at Wiri in 2011, and a member of the Review Pa= nel for the Kaipara District Council in 2012. He is a former President and Inaugural Fellow of the NZ Planning I= nstitute and, in November 2009, he received a Distinguished Service Award fo= r his contribution to the image and practice of planning.<= /p>
A MESSAGE FROM SIR WIRA GARDINER, KNZM, (CHAIR)
T=C4=93n= =C4=81 koutou,
Greetings to all those in the local government sector. I a= m delighted to have the opportunity to work with you all in this critically important area. I had the good fortune to meet som= e of you at the recent LGNZ conference in Rotorua, and to renew some old acq= uaintances. I look forward to meeting more people in local government as my f= ellow commissioners and I settle into our roles.
Leigh Auton, Janie Annear and I will be building on the ha= rd work and platforms of our departing predecessors, Basil Morrison and Anne Carter.
At the recent conference the Minister of Local Government,= Hon Paula Bennett, was forthright in her ambitions for change in local government and what it should be seeking to achieve. In her s= peech, the Minister gave all of local government a call to action. She= asked that local government re-dedicate themselves to focusing on the issue= s that matter most to people and communities: more jobs, sustained long-term economic growth, and sensible spending on re= liable and resilient infrastructure. She asked all of local gove= rnment to think beyond close relationships and sharing resources, services a= nd expertise, and look at what is needed to achieve those outcomes in a region.
What does the Minister=E2=80=99s speech mean for the Co= mmission=E2=80=99s work and approach?
The Commission is determined to assist both the Minister a= nd local communities to achieve more effective local government that supports the economic and social goals of our regions. Since my appoin= tment I have been thinking about how the Commission might carry out this rol= e.
The Minister=E2=80=99s speech was consistent with the June= announcements made by the Commission on the three reorganisation applications currently before us. These announcements clearly recognise tha= t regions can face different challenges and facing those challenges may requ= ire different approaches to change.
As a result, in our work with local communities there will= be a much more targeted approach to figuring out how local government in a region should respond to the challenges it faces. Tog= ether, we will concentrate more on local government functions that matter mo= st in supporting effective and dynamic communities and can help them realise= their economic potential =E2=80=93 water, transport, planning and regulation, and economic development. We are less i= nterested in focusing on changes to representative structures, unless they a= re strongly supported by communities.
Instead, the focus will be on solutions and options that w= ill deliver sustainable growth, better services, modern infrastructure, strong leadership, resilient communities =E2=80=93 and sustained, locked-in= change.
The range of possibilities could include different busines= s structures or Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), binding shared service arrangements, recalibrating roles and functions betw= een regional councils and territorial authorities, even, where local communi= ties support them, some amalgamations. The Minister also mentioned the= impact changes may have on the role of the regional councils. In some cases, changes may mean regional co= uncils are no longer required while in other cases regional councils may tak= e on more or fewer responsibilities.
We will be working alongside councils and communities in d= eveloping options. And together we will be engaging communities in discussions about the options we have available to move forward. Local d= emocratic participation in this process is vital.
The Minister has said she is prepared to legislate where r= equired to enact the best approach.
What does this mean for the current re-organisation pro= posals in Wellington, Northland and Hawkes Bay?
Region-wide amalgamations are off the table in Wellington a= nd Northland. People said =E2=80=9Cno=E2=80=99=E2=80=99 to those propo= sals but many in these communities put forward alternatives and others said they wan= ted some changes to enable better local government. Local government h= as understood the messages being sent by their communities in these regions a= nd since the announcements last month there has been strong interest in working together to determine what steps n= eed to be taken. The Commission intends to support and encourage this progre= ss in every way possible.
For both the Northland and Wellington regions, we want to b= uild on the changes councils have already made to how they work and make decisions together, and share resources and expertise. W= e want to build on the momentum for change and knowledge gained through the p= rocesses to date. With the councils in each region we will look at the= transport, water, spatial and land-use planning, and economic development functions to better understand how those= functions impact on the region. Together with councils, iwi and the c= ommunity we will then work to identify what might need to change to create a= stronger economy, modern infrastructure, resilient communities, and improved services.
If our joint investigations in either region indicate the b= est solutions can only be achieved through legislation, the Minister has said she will support this.
In both Wellington and Northland, we would like to have to= new proposals for change ready within 12 months, sooner if possible.
We will be asking the councils in Northland and Wellington= to help us figure out the best ways to talk with and seek feedback from their communities.
For Hawke=E2=80=99s Bay, the process is now in the hands o= f the people of the region who will decide on their local government future through the poll that takes place between 24 August and 15 September= . If the majority support the Commission=E2=80=99s proposal, a new Haw= kes Bay council would be elected in October 2016.
What does it mean for the rest of local government in N= Z?
The Commission is currently considering whether to accept r= eorganisation applications from North Rodney and the West Coast.
I hear talk about other areas actively considering changes= . This is good. It is clear to me from the Minister=E2=80=99s sp= eech she expects all councils to be looking at whether their current approaches c= ohesively and strategically support economic growth across the region. = There are many changes councils in a region can be making to themselves ind= ependent of the Commission or the formal reorganisation process that are beyond sharing services or close rel= ationships. For example, single district plans, joint governance of ke= y functions, and CCOs.
To support any change work councils will be doing, over th= e next few months, the Commission will be providing you with information about different options you have for changing local government i= n your region.
Our door is open. We are keen to help regions find i= nnovative and creative solutions for better local government. If you are considering change in your region, I encourage you to approach m= yself, fellow Commissioners Janie or Leigh, or Chief Executive Sandra Presto= n for a chat.
N=C4=81ku noa, n=C4=81
Chair, Local Government Commission
HAWKE=E2=80=99S BAY REORGANISATION PROPOSAL
On 9 June, the Commissioners announced their decision to r= elease a modified draft Hawke=E2=80=99s Bay proposal as a Final Proposal. On 11 June, a petition was received requesting a p= oll on the proposal. On 18 June the Commission notified the affected council= s that it had set 15 September as polling day for the proposal. On 23 June, t= he Commission released a Poll process update setting out further details of the electoral process= . Polling takes place over a three-week period prior to 15 September, w= ith first voting papers due to be delivered on 24 August. Voting ends at mid= day on 15 September and all votes must arrive by this time. Advertising restrictions in relation to the poll a= re prescribed in legislation and the Commission has distributed Guidelines to relevant parties.
What happens after the poll?
If 50 per cent or more vote =E2=80=9Cno=E2=80=99=E2=80=99 t= o the amalgamation proposal, the process ends and the status quo prevails. I= f more than 50 per cent vote =E2=80=9Cyes=E2=80=99=E2=80=99, transition arrangemen= ts are triggered. These include the establishment of a transition body compr= ising a transition board and an implementation team. The transition board wi= ll consist of 11 people, two elected members of each of the five affected councils and an independent chair appointed by the Loc= al Government Commission. The implementation team is sourced from the staff o= f the former authorities, and is appointed by the Commission. Further detail= s can be found on pages 31 and 32 of the Final Proposal
Twenty-three councils ar= e required to review their representation arrangements this year. Many of th= ose councils are well into the process. If there are appeals or object= ions to a council=E2=80=99s proposal, the Local Government Commission gets involved and makes the final decision. The= Commission normally holds a hearing attended by the council, appellants and= objectors, after which it makes its determination. Determinations mus= t be made by 10 April 2016, in time to be implemented for the 2016 local elections.
The Commission farewells= outgoing Chair Basil Morrison and Commissioner Anne Carter. Mr Morrison and= Ms Carter, who have each served four years, have worked diligently and brou= ght a wealth of experience and wisdom to their roles in helping New Zealanders achieve better local government. T= he Commission wishes them well in their respective futures.
Surgeons call for action on child quad bi= ke deaths