• Christine Fletcher
Local Government

The Minister of Local Government, Chris Fletcher, delighted at the response from Aucklanders to the discussion document on the future use of the Auckland Regional Services Trust resources, has extended the acceptance date for submissions to 15 August.

"It is important that Aucklanders are given every opportunity to have input into the process of deciding the future of the ARST's resources. Aucklanders are rising to my challenge to be involved and I want to accommodate that as much as possible."

However, Mrs Fletcher also said it was important not to compromise timely and cost effective decision making and that it was highly desirable any resulting legislation be enacted before next year's local body elections. Therefore, submissions cannot be accepted any later than 15 August.

"Aside from the cost of an election, estimated to be between $.5million and $1million, uncertainty over the future of the Trust needs to be resolved quickly so that Auckland can benefit from the Trust's resources sooner rather than later," she said.

"The process of developing and implementing new legislation is of necessity time consuming and this can sometimes lead to frustrations. A large part of this process must be made for the select committee to hear public submissions. It is my hope that these will be heard in Auckland.

"Once any proposed legislation is introduced to Parliament I would encourage Aucklanders to get involved in the select committee process and make further submissions. We will all need to work as hard and as quickly as possible to see that legislation does go through the House before the local body elections in October next year."

Mrs Fletcher said submissions on the document should be sent to the Department of Internal Affairs in Wellington within the next week or two if possible. Submissions received by 15 August would be accepted.