You may have seen the story in the Marketplace of 5 July re ‘New action on breakaway bid’. It follows a significant concession by the Local Government Commission [LGC]. For the past few months a consultancy firm, Morrison Low, has been conducting an analysis for the LGC of the financial implications of new local government arrangements for Waiheke and North Rodney. For Waiheke the options being analysed are:-
- the status quo
- a Waiheke Unitary Council which carries out all District and Regional council functions for the area the LGC decides upon
- a Waiheke District Council with Auckland Council carrying out regional council functions in the area decided upon.
The results of the analysis were due around the end of June. Our Waiheke wrote to the LGC on 26 June asking them to depart from their normal practice of denying access to financial analyses until the Commissioners make a formal proposal in response to any application. We noted our concern that Morrison Low would need to rely heavily on figures supplied by Auckland Council and its CCOs like Auckland Transport – figures we believe to be loaded with overheads and costs that would not be faced by an independent Waiheke Council. We also reiterated that there are a number of Councils in New Zealand with similar populations and settings, with which Waiheke could be indicatively compared. Click here to read our arguments we provided to the LGC in support of our request.
The welcome concession the LGC has made was not only that Our Waiheke and the Northern Action Group will be provided with the financial analysis report and given 2 weeks to consider it before being given an opportunity to discuss the analysis with Morrison Low and Commission staff on 4 August. We will then be given a further 2 weeks to provide our responses to the analysis.
While we are a little concerned about the way the process continues to drag out over time – it’s almost a year since the LG Commissioners came to Waiheke to consult our community – we are very grateful that the process continues to be conducted thoroughly and respectfully by the LGC. A further concern is that Parliament is scheduled to pass a Bill to amend the Local Government Act before the September national election. That Bill will give further powers to the LGC which are likely to impact on the process for determining our application.
To increase our chances of being given a good hearing, please email the CEO of the Local Government Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org
reiterating your support for an independent council for Waiheke.