BOP Regional Council Chairman
Parliament is considering, as a Bill, Better Local Government; an eight point programme to “improve the legislative framework for New Zealand’s 78 councils” and to make it easier to amalgamate.
It is Government’s view that rates are too high and that costs can be reduced with efficiencies.
What does this mean for you living in Tauranga, Western Bay?
A few scenarios to be considered:
1. That Tauranga and Western Bay councils amalgamate and take over the regional council and our functions in this area, but if that was to be proposed, it is likely that this could trigger other effects.
2. That Rotorua ‘goes it alone’ and also takes over the regional council functions in their area, with the Eastern Bay of Plenty (i.e. Whakatane , Kawerau and Opotiki) doing the same .
3. That a new Bay-wide council be formed from the areas above (as the regional council is now) with a review of the functions that are currently being carried out by all the current councils so as to avoid duplications.
4. Or a combination of the above, or something quite different.
The effect of all this is that all the proposals would go to the Local Government Commission, which would assess the options, consult with affected parties and reach a determination.
The commission, under the proposed legislation, has very detailed procedures that I do not detail here.
The purpose is just to alert you to the possibility of change.
For me as the chairman of the regional council, I believe that we are a very good council, and that we manage very well, particularly in financial management.
But we should not be looking to protect our own personal council position, nor should others be seeking to gain from our strong financial position.
It is your views that are important, and the above is just to alert you to discussions that need to be had with you, the community.
Better local government at less cost to you the ratepayer and the community is necessary and we should all work together for a result to secure a brighter future for those within the Bay of Plenty and for New Zealand .
If you have a view on this or any other regional council matter, please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org