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Local Government Research

Bay of Plenty Regional Council-specific work

May 2015

Information needed to apply the Local Government Commission’s decision making framework to the Bay of Plenty  – John Hutchings, HenleyHutchings (pdf, 800KB)

This report was commissioned as a follow up piece of work to HenleyHutchings’ February 2015 report, ‘The Nature and Value of Regional Council Functions and Services in the Bay of Plenty’.  That report drew attention to the detailed framework applied by the Local Government Commission to assist in determination of its most recent draft proposal for reorganisation of local government.

This report:

  • Identifies the information that would be required for Council to apply the Commission’s most recent decision-making framework to the Bay of Plenty
  • Identifies how much of that required information is readily available to Council, and
  • Provides suggestions on how any information gaps might be filled. 

Taken together, the information provided by this report has enabled Council to determine its own state of readiness to respond to an application for local government reorganisation affecting the Bay of Plenty, should such an application be submitted by another party.

Next steps

On 7 May 2015, Council agreed that it will do no further research in regard to local government reorganisation at this time.  Council may reconsider this position if circumstances change, such as another party lodging an application for local government reorganisation that affects the Bay of Plenty.  On 7 May 2015, Council also agreed to make this report publicly available. 

As noted in the body of this report, many of the existing information gaps should be filled by the joint Bay of Plenty councils’ Local Government Futures project as scoped and currently underway.

Although prepared specifically for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, this report may provide a useful start point for any of our partner councils in the Bay of Plenty should the need arise for them to respond to another party’s application for local government reorganisation, or to prepare their own application. 

The framework and information requirements and availability provide a sound start point for such processes, regardless of the content of any application or response.

 

February 2015

The Nature and Value of Regional Council Functions and Services in the Bay of Plenty  – John Hutchings, HenleyHutchings (pdf, 944KB)

This report was commissioned by Bay of Plenty Regional Council in September 2014 to run alongside the joint councils’ Local Government Futures project work. The purpose of the report was to articulate the value of regional council functions and services in the Bay of Plenty. This was seen as an important building block for Council’s contribution to the joint project, and also for developing the Council’s response to an application by another party for local government reorganisation affecting the Bay of Plenty, should this be required.

The report focuses primarily on Regional Council functions and services, how these are currently delivered in the Bay of Plenty, and the value they provide to the region’s community and environment.  

The report also briefly considers what constitutes ‘good local government’, and suggests some implications for regional council functions and services if other local government arrangements were considered for the Bay.

Council approved the report for public release at the Council meeting on 10 February 2015.

Council’s position

Council’s current position on local government reorganisation in the Bay of Plenty continues to be that it seeks only to be sufficiently informed to enable it to respond to an application, should this be required – not to prepare and submit an application itself.

However, responding to another party’s application would require Council to have formed a view on the relative merits of existing local government arrangements in the region (the ‘status quo’ option) compared to a range of other ‘reasonably practicable’ options that other parties might promote.

Next Steps

At the 10 February 2015 meeting, the Council directed the Chief Executive to commission a further piece of work that would apply the Local Government Commission’s decision-making framework to the Bay of Plenty region.

This work is to assist us in recognising what elements would and wouldn’t apply for this region and to identify evidence and information gaps that would need to be filled to enable Bay of Plenty Regional Council to prepare a robust response to another party’s application, should this be required.

We anticipate information gaps may be identified about:

  • the interdependency of communities
  • redistribution of costs and benefits within the region
  • strength of regional voice
  • iwi / Māori and local participation in decision-making.

This work may also enable us to anticipate the form of local government that may be recommended for the Bay of Plenty if the framework was applied to this region. The scope and timing for this work are yet to be finalised.

 

Joint Bay of Plenty councils’ work

‘Building a Better Bay’ – October 2014

The combined councils of the Bay of Plenty and surrounding districts have contributed stories about their collaborative work to a booklet called Building a Better Bay.

The booklet describes our region’s communities and outlines the various ways that we work together to achieve our collective vision for better business in the Bay of Plenty.

Each community has its own identity, challenges and opportunities for continuing growth. The common theme of the stories is the value of collaboration to achieve ‘more for less’ between councils, key community leaders, central government agencies and investors.

The 27 stories are grouped into:

  • Long Term Infrastructure management
  • Community outcomes game changer partnerships
  • ‘More for Less’ customer service delivery
  • Local / Central Government regulation cost/benefit effectiveness

Building a Better Bay shows how the councils of the Bay of Plenty and surrounds are working together to facilitate and lead change in our communities.

Read Building a Better Bay