LAW & PROCESS
North Rodney Governance Reorganisation
All Territorial Local Authorities (TLA’s) including Regional Councils operate under the Local Government Act 2002 and its amendments.
The most recent amendment was passed in December 2012 here and puts in place significant changes to the reorganization process that will, we believe, considerably enhance our chances of a democratic outcome for North Rodney’s ability to reorganise its local governance and, if necessary, separate from Auckland Council, if that’s what the community wants.
This process is specified in detail in Schedule 3 at the end of the enactment here . The requirement of a minimum threshold of 50000 population for a unitary council has been removed, thereby opening a window of opportunity for North Rodney that did not exist before.
A unitary council is a local Authority that assumes the role and responsibilities of both a district (or city) council and a Regional Council thereby eliminating the need for a two tier governance system. A Regional Council’s duties and role is prescribed in detail in the principle act but basically they look after the environment. Auckland Council is a ‘Unitary Council”.
Synopsis of the Reorganisation process
Reorganisation proposals are the responsibility of the Local Government Commission (LGC) which is an independent (of government) three person panel and advises the Ministry on a range of Local governance affairs.
The following is a summary of the order of business for handling a reorganisation proposal as it would apply to our case.
1.Any person or group (NAG) can submit a reorganization proposal to the CEO of the LGC. (clause 3)
2.The proposal must show that it has demonstrable significant (but not necessarily a majority) support of the affected community and that it will promote good local government. (clause 5)
3.The LGC will decide on these grounds whether or not to ‘assess’ or ‘decline’ the proposal (clause 6) but can reject it if it considers it frivolous or not in some way meeting the criteria of 2 above or if it needs more input (clause 7).
4.It will then notify the applicant and the Local Authority concerned as to its decision and must advise the reason if it decides to decline
5.If it decides to proceed and assess the proposal it must give public notice of what is being proposed and invite alternative proposals (clause 9)
6.It must then study any alternative proposals and also any other options and decide, after testing them all against a rigorous criteria, on a preferred option (Clauses 11 &12) which it will then notify to the affected parties.
7.The LGC will then proceed to develop the preferred proposal into a ‘Draft proposal (clause 14) which is subjected to due diligence. It is then notified publicly and to a raft of organizations that it is available for consultation and invite submissions within a specified period (clause 20)
8.After due consideration the LGC must decide on a ‘Final proposal’ which may have been modified as a result of the consultation process and present this as its intended action (Clause 21)
9.If the community does not like the ‘Final proposal’ it can, within 60 working days present a petition of 10% of them demanding a poll. Which the LGC must carry out (Clause 24)
10.If the poll shows more than 50% are in favour of the proposal then it will proceed, otherwise it is abandoned (Clause28)
11.An ‘Order in Council’ is then made to empower a transition body to implement the final proposal.
The act goes on to describe how the LGC is to proceed the reorganization scheme and is not in the scope of this treatise.
Obviously there are many hurdles at which our proposal could fail but at least it should trigger a very thorough examination of our local governance and result in a democratic outcome.
"Putting the 'local' back into our Local Government"
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