Thursday, November 14, 2013

Unitary Council - a Step in the Right Direction?

So the Local Government Commission has decided that the whole of Northland should be one, vast, unitary Council, merging a City, a District and a Region.
I guess it is good to see that the new political leaders of these organisations have already met and say they are willing to work together for the best good of all — whatever that pious generalisation means. And I am pleased to see that the proposal goes some way towards what I consider to be the ideal two-step solution.
With a mixture of modesty and superiority, I suggest again -

1. Merge the sectional interests of all our little country’s Councils and Boards into a single organisation which could take over their roles. Actually, it’s already in place. It’s called the NZ Government. And it, for a country of our size, could do everything our complex system of Councils and Boards does.
2. Return local government to the locals. Reinvent elected voluntary community bodies that represent defined communities with common interests or common boundaries. The present system of wards can link up to seven or eight distinct communities, and consistently creates accusations of sectional interests. By definition, it is not “community”.

The Paihia Community Trust is a model for this view of local government. There may be as many as thirty defined communities under the new Unitary Council. I wonder if it will have thirty or more Community Boards?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that a parliamentary committee is proposing that the role of providng water be taken out of the hands of district councils and managed on a wider basis, with perhaps just five privatised organisations to cover the whole country. Another step in the right direct: but, again, give it to the government, I say.