Call for more consultation over council overhaul

By Peter de Graaf

A proposal to turn the Far North into a unitary authority combining the roles of the district and regional councils has the backing of Deputy Mayor Ann Court - but she says it needs to go out for public consultation first.

Far North District councillors debated the plan, devised by the Better Local Government in the Far North Working Group chaired by Mayor Wayne Brown and Ngai Takoto leader Rangitane Marsden, at last Thursday's meeting.

All supported the proposal, but not all were convinced that ratepayers understood it or that enough consultation had been done.

Cr Court said it was a "damn good proposal" but it needed to go out for another round of public consultation before it was sent to the Local Government Commission (LGC), which will make the final decision.

Cr Court said reform was inevitable because the LGC believed having one-third of the country run by one council and the rest run by 78 councils was "silliness".

"I think it's a very good proposal and it has wings, but I can't vote for it until the community tells me they want it," she said.

Mr Brown, however, said ratepayers had backed the proposal in 15 public meetings and the LGC would consult thoroughly if it wanted to go ahead with the plan.

The motion to lodge the proposal with the LGC was moved by Cr Monty Knight and seconded by Cr Dalton.

Crs Court and Baker voted against it.

Several paragraphs in 'Radical council plan wins vote' on p6 yesterday were attributed to the wrong councillor. The error occurred in the subediting process.

- Northern Advocate

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