Today's Rethinking Local Government Conference was a good first step in making sure the Bay of Plenty communities are well informed and ready for whatever change may come for local councils, the regional mayors and chair of the regional council said this afternoon.
The conference, organised by the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, enabled a number of local bodies, authorities and ratepayers to discuss the ramifications of the Local Government Amendment Act 2012 for the future councils in the Bay.
Regional mayors and chair of Bay of Plenty Regional Council, who all attended the conference, agreed on the following joint statement following a successful day of presentations and discussion.
"It is anticipated that there will be changes in Local Government in other parts of New Zealand. That being so, change is also possible in the Bay of Plenty in the medium to long term. What that change might look like is not yet determined, so it's important we work together now to make sure we're in the best position to respond to a changing environment for the benefit of all our ratepayers.
"The fact that all these local bodies are willing to come together to collaborate and share information, is a clear indication that we can and do work together well, and that regardless of what the future looks like for the Bay, we will continue to work together to deliver effective and efficient governance.
"Bay of Plenty is a unique region and getting the governance structure right is vital. We won't just accept a one-size fits all policy, because what works in one region may not work so well in another. Consultation and engagement with stakeholders, community and iwi will also be an integral part of the decision making process.
"Local bodies in the Bay work well together and today's conference is a good example of that. We have also started operating shared services in areas like IT and geospatial services and we will continue to explore opportunities to further these. Continuing this collaboration is important because it allows us to better understand our economic, social, and environmental demographics and scope the needs and risks across our region. This in turn will allow us to address the future changes equipped as best we can be."
This joint statement is issued on behalf of Mayor John Forbes Opotiki District Council, Mayor Kevin Winters Rotorua District Council, Mayor Malcolm Campbell Kawerau District council, Mayor Neil Sinclair South Waikato District Council, Mayor Rick Cooper Taup? District Council, Mayor Ross Paterson Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Mayor Stuart Crosby Tauranga City Council, Mayor Tony Bonne Whakat?ne District Council and Chairman John Cronin Bay of Plenty Regional Council.