Councils gain greater powers over reserves

  • Chris Tremain
  • Nick Smith
Local Government Conservation

Government is giving councils greater delegated powers on how they manage more than 7000 reserves around New Zealand, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Chris Tremain announced today.

“This change is about recognising that local councils and their elected local representatives are better placed to make decisions on local reserves than government departments and ministers. This reform will reduce bureaucracy and give local communities more say and greater flexibility about how reserves are managed,” Dr Smith says.

“The current system of reserves management requires that for reserves vested with councils, they must seek the consent of the Conservation Minister for easements, for authorising new activities on reserves and to change their classification. A typical example would be a decision to allow camping on a reserve. This change means councils will be able to make the decisions themselves, although they will still need to act in accordance with the Reserves Act.

“This positive change is consistent with the report of the Productivity Commission last month that regulatory decisions need to be made at the most appropriate level of Government. This is about government and councils recognising each other’s strengths and weaknesses and ensuring decisions are made where we will get the best outcomes for the community,” Mr Tremain says.

“This change will be welcomed by councils because it reduces bureaucracy and recognises that councils are quite capable of responsibly managing these thousands of reserves.”

The changes in delegated powers to councils have been signed by the Minister of Conservation and take effect tomorrow.