A NEW COUNCIL
The proposed new Unitary Council for North Rodney
The proposed new North Rodney Unitary Council (NRUC) will consist of 6 elected members (this is the minimum allowed by legislation)
Five of those members will be Ward Councilors, each elected from within specific geographic areas within the North Rodney area.
To accommodate this, the North Rodney district will be divided into five wards … in principle, geographically based, but also having regard to mixed criteria such as geographic area, population weighting, rateable values, number of assessments, etc. The actual weighting of each element is yet to be determined.
The objective of this method is to ensure that no one sector, be it rural or urban, will be able to dominate the council.
The 6th member will be a Mayor, to be elected by the community at large.
The council headquarters will be based in Warkworth with a small agency in Wellsford.
The Regional Parks will remain under Auckland Councils Care and control as ‘absentee owners’. However the NRUC will negotiate a grant in lieu of rates for the specific purpose of providing and maintaining suitable access roads.
The proposed NRUC will
·Be focused primarily on the ‘Core business’ of fulfilling its statutory regulatory functions, and delivering to its community infrastructure such as the roading network, water reticulation, wastewater systems and storm-water management.
·Maintain sufficient funding for road maintenance, and ensure the maximum subsidy from Transit NZ is available for our roading network.
With both Auckland Council and the Transit Authority reviewing their funding policies, it is not possible to tell how we will fare with respect to subsidies under either regime. However, though we will have to live with whatever the NZTA Transport Agency decides (as too will Auckland Council), as an independent council we can at least tailor our funding policy to suit our local needs. These are needs which are quite different from that of the Auckland urban area. Levying rates is only part of the funding issue; it is necessary to consider what we actually get in return.
·Focus on promoting the ‘social’, ‘economic’, ‘environmental’, and ‘cultural’ well-being of the community … but only as the community requires and can afford. The library service will continue.
·Adopt a system of rates which will ensure a fair distribution of the rate burden. So far as practical, and as near as the current law allows, will follow the philosophy of ‘user / exacerbator pays’.
It will adopt such tools as Uniform Annual General Charges to collect the maximum permissible proportion of the rates, which is 30%. It will use targeted rating where it is identified that only localised areas or groups benefit. While many Council provided services are for the benefit of the community as a whole, nobody should have to pay for services clearly benefit only a particular area or group to the exclusion of the rest of the community.
·Evolve a District Plan for North Rodney. This will be developed from the present Unitary plan and previous plans as it applies to our area and, democratically, with full community input, adapting them to meet the future needs of the ratepayers of North Rodney.
These earlier plans were evolved and developed over very many years, with constructive and democratic participation by North Rodney ratepayers … and at their considerable cost in time and money. They should not just be put aside in favour of a "one size fits all" Unitary Plan as proposed by Auckland Council.
·Provide an appropriate public transport system where it can be shown that it will be cost effective and supported by the user public. By cost effective it would need to be at least 75% user pays
·Spend our rate money not only “on” our area but wherever possible ‘in’ our area. This would be done by endeavouring to “buy local”, and using local people and contractors to carry out the services that need to be provided to or for the benefit of the community.
The aim is to ensure ‘our’ money stays in the area and helps create and secure jobs for local people.
·Provide a modern and appropriate Library service by building on what we already have and also negotiating and ‘exchange’ service with neighbouring councils (including Auckland).
A ‘suggestion box system’ (both on-line and manual) will be operated so users can encourage the purchase of what they’d like to see in the Library
·Build strong local community involvement and ownership of projects by encouraging and supporting voluntary groups and organisations working for the good of North Rodney and its people.
We have in the community many talented people who are willing and able to freely give their time and energy. This resource will be deployed to the full.
·Support owners of island and sea access only properties to ensure they have adequate and appropriate access to what is their ‘road’ (i.e. the sea) without undue burden imposed by exorbitant consenting fees for necessary jetties and moorings.
·Establish local ‘dog control’ and ‘alcohol’ plans for each community area but in accordance with the wishes and input of those communities.
·Stay in touch with community issues by conducting regular polling using electronic and other social media.
The southern boundary of the proposed NRUC is indicative only.
A detailed definition of the southern boundary has yet to be determined but broadly speaking it will follow the pre 1974 southern boundary of the old Rodney County Council (before the amalgamation with the northern part of the old Waitemata County Council)
District boundaries, where ever possible, must not divide watersheds, title boundaries, Communities of interest or statistical mesh blocks. The old RCC boundary may not now satisfy all these criteria and may need some fine tuning.
If your property is on or near the drawn boundary (either side) please contact us indicating where your property certificate of title boundaries are and whether you would like to be included or excluded from the proposed NRUC.
"Putting the 'local' back into our Local Government"
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The Northern Action Group