Date: 8 May 2013
Nineteen individuals, organisations and groups have responded to the call for alternative applications regarding local government reorganisation in the Hawke’s Bay Region.
The Local Government Commission issued a public notice in March 2013 calling for alternative applications after ‘A Better Hawke’s Bay’ Trust applied to combine regional and district council responsibilities in one body: a unitary authority.
The 19 responses are now being assessed by the Commission and are as follows:
Alternative applications are required to meet certain legislative requirements. For example they must explain what the proposed changes seek to achieve; the potential improvements that would result; and how the changes would promote good local government. Alternative applications are not the same as a public submission. The opportunity for public submissions occurs at a later stage of the process, if the Commission decides to prepare a draft proposal.
The ‘Better Hawke’s Bay’ application is for the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, the Hastings District Council, the Napier City Council, the Wairoa District Council and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to be amalgamated into one body – a unitary authority. Some eastern areas of the Rangitikei and Taupo Districts are also affected.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Local Government Commission, Donald Riezebos, said the process for changing local government structures, boundaries and functions is set out in Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002. Mr Riezebos said there are a number of distinct steps that must be followed and the process in relation to the Hawke’s Bay application is:
In any event, no change would be made before the next local authority elections in October 2013. Guidelines on the reorganisation process are available at www.lgc.govt.nz
There are five unitary authorities in New Zealand: Auckland, Gisborne, Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman. Auckland is the most recent council to combine the two levels of local authority functions. The others became unitary authorities at varying times: Gisborne 1989; and Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman in 1992. The Chatham Islands Council also effectively operates as a unitary authority, as it is not within a region.
All other local authorities in the country work under a two tier framework of regional and district councils which have separate regulatory and planning responsibilities.
Chief Executive Officer
Local Government Commission
Phone 04 494 0657
The Local Government Commission is an independent body tasked with making decisions on local authority electoral matters and all applications relating to changes to existing boundaries, functions and areas of local authorities. Its members are appointed by the Minister of Local Government.
The legislation governing reorganisation of local authorities, Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002, can be accessed here.