Two very distinguished Local Government Commissioners will be spending all of Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th of September on Waiheke to hear from what they hope will be a wide range of locals about whether or not the Commission should propose a separate local council for Waiheke. The two Commissioners are the Chair, Sir Wira Gardiner, KMNZ and Geoff Dangerfield.
Sir Wira was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the NZ army before retiring. He then became the founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal, and later, the founding chief executive of the Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri). He was Chair of the Tertiary Education Commission between 2010 and 2012 and Chair of the Board of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa between 2010 and 2013. Sir Wira was made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008 for services to Maori.
Geoff Dangerfield, QSO was CEO of the NZ Transport Agency from its inception in 2008 to late 2015, CEO of the Ministry of Economic Development 2001-08 and a Deputy Secretary to the Treasury prior to that.
The Commissioners will be accompanied by the acting CEO of the Commission, Rewi Henderson, and senior staff who will facilitate meetings with the Waiheke community.
The Commissioners will be welcomed onto Piritahi Marae at 11 am on Wednesday, 28 September. They will then join their staff at the library until 4pm for a ‘drop-in’ session, to make themselves available to any individual or small group to offer their thoughts on reorganising Auckland Council in its relationship with Waiheke and/or the establishment of a Waiheke Council.
The Commission team will then hold a public meeting at the MORRA Hall from 7 pm where an independent facilitator will seek to gain our community’s views through discussion and the use of post-it notes with those attending.
There will then be another drop-in session with the Commissioners from 11am to 4pm and a public meeting at 7 pm on Thursday, 29th of September – both at the Ostend Hall.
This form of community interaction is new for the Commission. It has decided to be more proactive in its interactions with communities that may be affected by decisions it makes to change local government arrangements in parts of NZ.
John Meeuwsen of the ‘Our Waiheke’ team promoting the establishment of an independent council says “We are very grateful that the Commissioners have provided extended opportunities for Waiheke to provide feedback on local governance. We hope our community makes the best of this chance to convince the Commissioners that we are well placed to govern ourselves and that, in doing so, we would unleash the considerable potential Waiheke has to showcase innovative, cost effective local government.”
The Commissioners have already held 2 drop-in sessions attended by some 80 people in North Rodney. The public meetings held there have helped to inform the process for gaining feedback from a larger audience which should be an advantage for the Waiheke meetings.
John Meeuwsen – Our Waiheke spokes person
+64 9 372 3240 / +64 21 2424925