Home » Commission news & contact information Media releases and notices Responses to Hawke’s Bay local government reorganisation

Responses to Hawke’s Bay local government reorganisation

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:

  • 8 from private individuals
  • 1 from lobby or interest groups
  • 1 from iwi
  • 7 from Councils
  • 2 from current Councillors (one regional and one district)

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:

  • The Commission will now consider the responses, alongside the original application and alongside the status quo (the existing arrangements).
  • The Commission must identify reasonably practicable options for local government in the affected area.
  • If it does not select the existing arrangements as its preferred option, the Commission will prepare a draft proposal. It will publicly notify the draft proposal and call for submissions.
  • The Commission will consider submissions on the draft proposal, consult and undertake any further investigations before deciding whether to proceed further.
  • If it does decide to proceed, the Commission will prepare a final proposal which will be publicly notified. A period of 60 working days will be allowed for responses, for example a petition seeking a poll.
  • A petition of 10% or more of electors in any one of the affected districts is able to trigger a poll.
  • If more than 50% of those voting in the poll support the proposal, or if no poll is called for, the final proposal will be implemented and the proposed changes will take place. If the proposal attracts support from 50% or fewer of those voting, the reorganisation proposal will lapse.

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.

Media enquiries

Donald Riezebos

Chief Executive Officer

Local Government Commission

Phone 04 494 0657

Note for editors

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.