Health Minister David Clark has rejected calls from Waikato councils to fund extra and unexpected elections costs of about 15 per cent after he cancelled the Waikato District Health Board's elections earlier this year.
In a written response to the councils dated August 19 2019, Clark said the question of funding the additional costs was an operational matter for the DHB, but noted that it was already facing significant financial restraints.
Waikato Mayoral Forum chairman Alan Livingston wrote to Clark, on behalf of the Waikato councils, to make him aware of the extra costs councils and ratepayers now faced after the costs to conduct local elections would only be split two ways.
Livingston said the response was disappointing, but the councils had accepted it and had no plans to challenge it further.
"Bearing in mind their financial situation, bearing in mind they aren't actually involved even though [they] did give a commitment earlier on because they weren't to foresee the board would be disbanded and commissioners appointed.
"We believe the principle was there for them to support it. They chose not to so we are disappointed, but we have moved on," Livingston said.
Previously the cost has been split three ways between the territorial authority (around 50 per cent), the regional council (about 20 per cent) and the DHB (about 30 per cent).
The councils shared the costs of items such as posting out voting packs to electors, counting votes, placing public notices and insurance.
For Hamilton City Council, it meant those costs would rise from about $80,000 to $100,000. Waipa District Council also estimated it would have to stump up another $20,000.
A Waikato DHB spokesperson said the DHB was aware of the letter the councils sent to the Minister, but it had not been approached for additional funding.
Waikato district mayor Alan Sanson and Thames Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie expressed their annoyance to the Herald in May over the unbudgeted cost that they did not think councils should have to cover.