Northern News : August 29th 2012
9 NORTHERN NEWS, AUGUST 29, 2012 Our vision for the Far North The Council and Te Taitokerau Iwi Leaders Forum want to see: • More decisions about the Far Nor th made by people in the Far Nor th • a stronger voice for the district in Wellington • Maori and non-Maori working together as strategic par tners to make the district a better place in which to live, work and invest • a simplified planning framework and more cost-effective local government • the Far Nor th get its share of income from the region's assets and use this to grow the district's economy and infrastructure • Far Nor th communities have more control over infrastructure costs • Iwi and communities actively involved in the protection of the environment News This is our chance for a better future The people of the Far Nor th have an unprecedented oppor tunity to change local government in Nor thland for the better. The recessionar y climate has made the Government more receptive to reorganisation proposals. A Bill before Parliament gives the Local Government Commission greater flexibility to develop reorganisation proposals and makes it easier for community-led proposals to proceed.This gives the Far Nor th a chance to advance a proposal that would make local government in the district simpler and more cost-effective. We can't do it without your support The Local Government Commission needs to know the working group's reorganisation proposal has 'significant community suppor t' before it will investigate it. The group will outline its case for two unitar y authorities at meetings with community groups and iwi between now and the end of September. It will solicit letters of suppor t from community groups to include in its application to the Commission. Other groups and individuals that suppor t the working group's proposal can register their suppor t on the Council's website at www.fndc.govt.nz. At this stage, the working group is only asking for people to suppor t its application in principle. There will be fur ther oppor tunities to comment on the unitar y authority initiative if the Commission decides it has merit and develops it into a formal reorganisation proposal. This would include a statutor y consultation process to allow the community to make formal submissions. Find out more The Better Local Government in the Far Nor th Working Group has produced a 34-page booklet outlining its case for a reorganisation of local government in Nor th- land. Go to www.fndc.govt.nz to download an electronic copy or pick up a printed copy from a Far Nor th District Council ser vice centre. The group has fielded questions at public meetings hosted by community groups in Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Russell. Group members will attend more meetings in Kerikeri, Kawakawa, Mangonui, Kaitaia, Opononi, Rawene and Paihia between now and October. Moving forward together A message from the Far North District Council and Te Taitokerau Iwi Leaders Forum Paddling our own waka Te Kaunihera o Tai Tokerau Ki Te Raki In Brief in 1989, without creating the bigger units of government that resulted in those reforms centralising a lot of council decision-making. Ratepayer s haven't taken a lot of interest in this issue in the past. But restructuring local government is on the Government's agenda whether we like it or not. If we don't frame the problems and the solutions, another organisation that doesn't understand our problems, or have them at hear t, will. We're not prepared to take that risk. We urge you to find out more about what we are proposing and suppor t our bid to take greater control of our future. Better Local Government in the Far North Working Group Co-Chairs Far North Mayor - Wayne Brown Te Taitokerau Iwi Leaders Forum representative Rangitane Marsden meetings across the district. We think it's a pretty compelling case for change. The current local government system was put in place in the late 1980s when the Worldwide Web didn't exist and personal computers and cell phones weren't widely used. Par ticipation in local government in those days meant the chance to vote ever y three years, not the right to be involved in council decision-making between elections. The roles that iwi play in our communities have also changed dramatically. Iwi are now major players in Nor thland's economy and are developing strategic capabilities and resource management interests that make them essential par tner s in local government. Our proposal for better local government in Nor thland addresses the anomalies that have arisen as a result of these changes. It also evolves efficiencies gained by amalgamating borough and county councils Local government touches every one of us ever y day, so it is impor tant that local ser vices are organised as cost-effectively as possible . This is especially impor tant in the current financial climate when weak economic growth puts pressure on ratepayer s' budgets. The Government is mindful of this too and wants to see a more efficient local government sector by October 2013. It believes that efficiencies could be gained by merging councils or abolishing regional councils and transferring their responsibilities to district councils. A Bill currently before Parliament proposes a number of reforms aimed at improving local ser vices and reducing the costs of these ser vices. Among these is a proposal to streamline council reorganisation procedures which are lengthy, complex and generally stop reorganisation proposals from succeeding. This is good news for people in the Far Nor th. The Far Nor th District Council has been saying for year s that Nor thland's local government structure isn't cost-effective. That is one of the reasons why it decided in 2008 to investigate becoming a unitar y authority. The Council now has an oppor tunity to advance this proposal fur ther. It has joined forces with Te Taitokerau Iwi Leaders Forum and formed a Better Local Government in the Far Nor th Working Group to prepare and build suppor t for a reorganisation application which the Council will lodge with the Local Government Commission in October. This application will propose that Nor thland's four councils be replaced with two unitary authorities: a Far Nor th Unitar y Authority, which would have Maori seats, and a Whangarei Unitar y Authority. The working group has already presented its argument for a reorganisation of local government in Nor thland to district councillor s, community boards and the Iwi Leader s For um. It is now outlining its case to community groups at public The top place where talent wants to live, work and invest QUESTIONS? Phone the Council's 24-hour call ser vice on Freephone 0800-920-029 or 09 401-5200 or email email@example.com Our proposal The Council and Te Taitokerau Iwi Leader s For um believe that replacing Nor thland's four councils with two unitary authorities would go a long way towards realising this vision.The group proposes a r ural-focused, Kaikohe-based Far Nor th Unitary Authority and an urban-focused Whangarei- based unitary authority. The Far Nor th Unitary Authority would have Maori wards which would elect three representatives to govern the district with six councillor s and a Mayor elected by General Roll voters. Kaipara is too small to form a unitar y authority on its own. It could join a Whangarei Unitar y Authority. Alternatively, Dargaville could become par t of a Far Nor th Unitar y Authority and Mangawhai could become par t of a Whangarei Unitary Authority. Public Meetings Kerikeri Business Association August 30, 6pm - Kerikeri Golf Club Kawakawa Business Association September 4, 6pm St John's Ambulance Hall, Kawakawa Te Hiku Community Board September 6, 7pm - Mangonui Fire Station Kaitaia Business Association September 12, 5:30pm Te Ahu Centre, Kaitaia Opononi & Omapere Ratepayers & Residents Association, September 20, 2:30pm - Opononi Hall Rawene Area Residents Association September 20, 5pm - Rawene Town Hall Focus Paihia/Business Paihia September 24, 7pm- Paihia Memorial Hall "Success is not the work of one" "Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi"
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