Local voters 'can make difference'

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Kaipara residents are being urged to take part in October's local body elections as the Kaipara District Council returns to democratically-elected representatives after four years under the control of Government-appointed commissioners.

The Government will appoint a Crown Manager and a Crown Observer to help the eight new councillors and a mayor.

Commissioners were appointed to the KDC in 2012 to address significant governance and financial challenges facing the council - many caused by the budget blowout from the Mangawhai sewerage scheme.

The Kaipara commissioners were initially appointed until 2015, but that was extended a year and their term will end when the newly-elected council comes into office.

Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston is encouraging Kaipara residents to get involved in the October 8 local body elections.

"The Kaipara community has an opportunity to determine its future and I encourage community members to make sure their voice is heard in the elections.

I also encourage any community members who want to make a positive difference to stand for council," Ms Upston said. "The Kaipara commissioners have made significant progress in getting the council into a stable financial position. It is time that the council returns to a fully-elected council."

Ms Upston said that she will also appoint a Crown Manager and a Crown Observer to support the newly-elected council as it settles in.

"I will appoint a Crown Manager to take responsibility for certain outstanding legal actions, on behalf of the newly-elected council. Newly-elected council members will then be able to focus on providing effective governance and on the district's future, rather than being distracted by past issues," she said.

"It is important that newly-elected council members have the right support to be successful in their demanding and complex role. With this in mind, I will also appoint a Crown Observer to help ensure newly-elected council members are well supported. The Crown Observer will not be involved in decision-making and will only offer advice or guidance."

Ms Upston said it was crucial the Kaipara District was able to look to the future and the return to a fully-elected council, together with a Crown Manager and Crown Observer supporting the council, would provide a fresh start.

She said the Crown Manager and Crown Observer appointees will be announced in coming months.

- Northern Advocate

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