39 submissions on local government revamp

By Mike Barrington

Thirty-nine individuals, organisations and groups have responded to the Local Government Commission's call for alternative applications on how to reorganise the Northland region.

The call came after the Far North District Council applied to combine regional and district council responsibilities to form a unitary authority.

Of the responses, 28 are from private individuals, three from lobby or interest groups, three from iwi, two from community groups, two from councils and one from a district councillor.

Alternative applications are required by law. They must explain what the proposed changes seek to achieve, potential improvements and how the changes would promote good local government.

The Far North District Council application covers only that district, but the commission considers it would also affect Kaipara and Whangarei districts.

The commission earlier determined the formation of a unitary authority in the Far North district could affect other council operations and could ultimately have an impact on residents and ratepayers throughout Northland.

If it does not select the existing local government arrangements as its preferred option, the commission will prepare a draft proposal, publicly notify the proposal and call for submissions as part of a longer process.

In any event, no change would be made before the next local authority elections in October.

Full guidelines on the reorganisation process are at www.lgc.govt.nz

- Northern Advocate

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