Mayoral candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson wants to introduce four new committees to the Rotorua Lakes Council and adopt a "zero-based budgeting" financial system if he wins October's election.

Dr Macpherson, the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group mayoral candidate, released his first policy statement yesterday.

In it he says he wants to "reform governance by offering authentic consultations and partnerships with all communities of interest, especially to obtain policy advice from Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board, the Lakes Community Board and the new Rural Community Board, and from stakeholders and individuals that wish to be heard".

He said if elected he would "overhaul the management of council" by establishing four council committees - Infrastructure, Public Services, Regulations and Finance - that would be led by councillors to provide policy advice to council and supervise programs and projects approved in the Annual Plan.


"They will use zero-based budgeting to analyse needs and costs in each of their programmes and projects managed by officials, and challenge spending for each new period to progressively compress costs."

He said there had been calls "from all parts of the district for more democratic and effective decision making".

"With expert advice from officials, all reasonable options will be clarified, costed and debated openly. Elected councillors alone will make policy decisions."

Dr Macpherson said in his view these reforms to governance and management would give people more direct access to elected representatives, boost transparency, generate ownership and seriously retire debt.

"We see the coming election as a referendum on co-governance that we were not allowed to have. We promise a return to democratic and effective decision making in everyone's interest."

He said policies on service delivery and infrastructure, reforms to financial management, partnerships to deliver economic and community development, and reconciling economic, environmental and cultural values in land use policy and planning processes would be forthcoming.

Rotorua's six other mayoral candidates respond:
Frances Louis
Interesting. I support Dr Macpherson's right to view the world as he sees fit, but it seems to me he views Te Arawa as being at council for his bidding.
Te Arawa has and does use its own mana and doesn't bow to council or its members.
The Te Arawa partnership with council is to make sure tangata whenua are not being trampled on.
I would like to see council fully immersed in te reo and all Maori speakers who are unemployed to be given jobs at council.
All staff get trained, no matter what qualifications they have. WINZ is a good place to find unemployed Te Arawa beneficiaries and give them a place working at council.
Nothing like home grown whanau to benefit our town.

Rangimarie Kingi
How can you have "zero based budgeting" when you want to pay four committees?
Self-rule policies promised are passed its used by date of strategy.
Get back to common sense - tribal authority governing.

Rob Kent
If Reynold Macpherson had any experience in local government he would know that "reforming management" of the council is not the permitted role of elected representatives.
The mayor and elected councillors have only one employee - the chief executive. Only he/she determines management structure and employs the council employees, not Dr Macpherson and his team of hopefuls.
I do however concur with him that authentic consultation and partnerships, with advice and input on matters of policy, and with only elected officials making the decisions, are essential for the future of Rotorua.
To have four main committees as he proposes, as well as council, with all the extra meetings and staff reports entailed, would in my view be just as inefficient as the ridiculous scenario we are currently putting up with - debating everything twice at ratepayer expense.

Mark Gould
The most important business department of Rotorua Lakes Council is finance.
Budgets are very important and the biggest area funding is required in is infrastructure.
Key projects will need to be funded for future growth.
When elected mayor the finance committee will meet monthly and risks of projects and the type of funding would be advised to all councillors.
Finance, risk, infrastructure regulations and policy would be my request to the councillors who make the policy of Rotorua Lakes Council.
The Annual Plan process would be open to all residents of Rotorua to have their say on council requirements.

Steve Chadwick
This policy is in my view a retrograde step that would take council back to the olden days of out of control debt and a lack of transparency in decision making.
Zero-based budgeting is old fashioned and does not meet new financial reporting requirements.
There were four committees of council three years ago that resulted in a loss of community confidence.
At a time when we are acting prudently to reduce debt, this policy will drive more costs into the organisation to service two extra committees.
This policy also overlooks the need for an Audit and Risk Committee.
It is the prerogative of a newly elected council to decide on the number of committees and the mayor has one vote.
If I'm re-elected the incoming council will review and confirm the current committee structure with members of Te Tatou o Te Arawa participating on the committees of council.

John Rakei-Clark
Thank you Dr Reynold Macpherson for your in-depth thoughts on governance. It sounds concerning and serious.
Our city lacks real leadership that our mayor Steve Chadwick promised.
It's okay Rotorua citizens - John Rakei-Clark is here to change our little town into RotoVegas - the city with my business connections I will be employing up to six people off WINZ before October elections and I know we can help more.