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Commission decision on ‘affected area’ for North Rodney application

Date: 14 Apr 2016

The Local Government Commission has made a decision on the “affected area’’ for  the application from the Northern Action Group (NAG) for a North Rodney unitary authority,  separate from Auckland Council.

The Commission has determined that all of the Auckland Council area is the affected area, rather than just North Rodney. In doing so it determined that the operational scale, scope or capability of Auckland Council would be materially affected if local government in the North Rodney area were to be reorganised as proposed by NAG.  An explanation and summary of the Commission’s reasons can be found at: North Rodney application

As required under Clause 8, Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002, the Commission has also determined there is demonstrable community support in the Auckland Council district for local government reorganisation in the area affected by the application. The Commission is not required to determine that a majority of persons in an affected area support reorganisation. A summary of the Commission’s reasons can be found at: North Rodney application

The Commission will now call for alternative applications.  These are other suggested local government arrangements relating to the Auckland Council area, which can be made by any person, body or group. It will then decide on its preferred local government option.  If the preferred option is not the status quo, the Commission will then begin developing a draft reorganisation proposal before consulting further with the community and gauging public support for it.

“The Commission will be inviting ideas and suggestions from people and parties interested in local government in the Auckland Council area,’’ said Commission Chair Sir Wira Gardiner. “We look forward to receiving and considering these.’’

Background

  • The Local Government Commission received an application from Northern Action Group (NAG) for the constitution of a North Rodney Council as a unitary authority separate from Auckland Council in November 2013.
  • On 30 June 2014 the Commission declined to assess the application principally on the grounds that to do so would not be in the public interest.
  • NAG appealed to the High Court and, in April 2015, the High Court said the Commission was wrong in law on the public interest ground.
  • In August 2015, having received and considered further information from NAG, the Commission decided to assess the application.

Local Government Reorganisation: summary

The process for local government reorganisations under the Local Government Act 2002 is (broadly):

  • Individuals, organisations or the Minister of Local Government can apply to the Commission for reorganisation of local government.
  • If the Commission decides to assess the application, it will then determine the ‘’affected area’’.
  • If the Commission determines there is general support in the district of each affected territorial authority for local government reorganisation in the affected area, it will give public notice of the application and call for alternative applications.
  • An alternative application must comply with the requirements for a reorganisation application (as set out in LGA 2002, Schedule 3, Clauses 5 and 10).
  • The Commission then identifies reasonably practicable options for local government for the affected area – which must include the status quo.
  • From the reasonably practicable options, the Commission identifies its preferred option.
  • If the preferred option is not the status quo, it develops a draft proposal.
  • A draft proposal is subject to consultation, including submissions and in some cases a hearing or a series of hearings.
  • If the Commission decides to proceed it issues a final proposal. Otherwise it can choose to end the process, or identify a new draft proposal for consultation.
  • If requested by the community a poll on the final proposal is held.
  • If no poll is requested or the poll shows the necessary level of support for the final proposal, the final proposal is implemented.

Media contact:

Simon Cunliffe | Local Government Commission | Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua

DDI +64 4 474 8164 | MOB +64 27 809 3833 | simon.cunliffe@dia.govt.nz    

North Rodney “affected area’’ decision: questions and answers

Q: What is an affected area?

A: The affected area is the area impacted by the application – in this case it means is it just North Rodney or all of Auckland.

Q: What is the test?

A: Whether the operational scale, scope and capability of the Council would be materially affected.

Q: What happens now?

A: The Commission is following a prescriptive legislative process and will soon call for alternative applications.

Q: What is an alternative application?

A: An alternative application is another suggestion for reorganising local government in the affected area.

Q: Is the status quo a possibility?

A: Yes. The Commission is required to include the existing local government arrangements among any other “reasonably practicable’’ options considered.

Q: Will there be a poll on the outcome?

A:  If the Commission were to develop and consult on a draft proposal, and then decide to issue a final proposal, a poll would be a possibility.

Q: How is a poll triggered?

A: A poll may be demanded by a petition of 10 per cent or more of affected electors in the district of any affected territorial authority.

Q: Would the poll be limited to North Rodney residents or would anyone in Auckland be able to vote?

A: Any “affected elector’’ may participate in a poll, an affected elector being a residential elector or ratepayer elector in the affected area: that is they are either on the electoral roll as living in, or a non-resident ratepayer of, the affected area.