Auckland Council Amendment Bill passedLocal Government
The Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Bill which provides powers for local boards to delegate responsibilities allocated to them has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.
Local Government minister Chris Tremain says the Bill puts into statute transitional regulations that were due to expire on 31 October 2013.
“The Bill continues the provisions which give local boards the powers to operate more efficiently and effectively without sacrificing community choice and identity at a local level,” says Mr Tremain.
“Only two of the 21 Auckland boards have populations fewer than 45,000 people. Elected bodies serving populations of this size need flexibility in how they structure their decision-making. They need to be able to create committees and sub-committees, and to delegate appropriate responsibilities to them.
“Since the creation of the Auckland Council, the Auckland region has for the first time a unified single goal, that is to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city.”
Significant progress has been made in working to achieve this goal including:
- launching the Auckland plan
- adopting the City Centre Master plan, Waterfront Plan and the Economic Development strategy
- hosting significant portions of the Rugby World Cup 2011
- unifying the libraries to create the largest library group in Australasia
- development of a world class public transport system
- achieving $81 million worth of efficiency savings in the 2011/12 financial year
“The local board model in Auckland has proved successful. As a result the Government will make the Local Board model available, in a modified form, to other parts of New Zealand with smaller population bases" says Mr Tremain.
Auckland’s 21 Local Boards were established as part of the Auckland governance reforms. These reforms were instigated in 2009/2010 by central government in response to the Royal Commission’s report on Auckland governance.
The Auckland ‘two-tier’ model shares governance between the Council’s governing body and local boards.
The governing body and the local boards are non-hierarchical and share complementary decision-making responsibilities. The governing body has a region-wide strategic focus, while local boards make decisions on local matters.
Boards make decisions about non-regulatory local matters, including negotiating service delivery standards, develop, monitor and implement local board plans every three years, and negotiate local board agreements with the governing body.
They also provide local leadership and develop relationships with the governing body, the community, and special interest groups.
The Bill will enable the continued delegation of some of these responsibilities to a committee of a local board, or an officer of the Auckland Council.
However, the Bill would not enable the delegation of certain functions, such as the duty to identify and communicate the interests of people in the local board’s area in relation to strategies, policies, plans, and bylaws of the Auckland Council.
Nor will any local board be able to delegate the ability to propose, amend, confirm, modify or revoke a bylaw; adopt a local board plan; agree the local board agreement for its area; or apply to the Local Government Commission for a determination in respect of a dispute with the governing body of the Auckland Council.