Making the West Coast stronger

Date: 3 February 2016

The West Coast Mayoral Forum and the Local Government Commission this week met to discuss local government issues and challenges on the West Coast.

This follows initial meetings between the Commission, the Mayoral Forum and Coast chief executives after the Commission agreed to assess an application for local government reorganisation from Peter Salter and Anthea Keenan in August last year. The Commission has also met with the applicants.

The Commission has agreed that two streams of work will follow: progressing the reorganisation application first through public consultation; and assisting the Mayoral Forum in the councils’ regional efficiency initiatives, specifically joint RMA planning and regional roading infrastructure.

“In addressing the reorganisation application we will be seeking views on the issues that are important to the West Coast community, and the outcomes they want,’’ said Commissioner Janie Annear.

“Promoting a public discussion about local government and hearing from residents how they think it could be made more effective is critical to this,’’ she said.

Speaking for the Mayoral Forum on behalf of the region’s mayors, Regional Council Chair Andrew Robb said: “We’re pleased that public consultation is going to be the next step in this process – and we’ll be very interested in the views that emerge.

“We are very aware of the need to keep in step with people’s priorities,’’ he said.

 The Mayoral Forum also endorsed the Commission’s commitment to assist in regional efficiency initiatives already identified by the West Coast councils.

“This is an exciting opportunity to make some real gains for the Coast. Together the councils have made progress on shared civil defence arrangements, insurance procurement and economic development,’’ Mr Robb said. “But there are potentially other areas in which savings and efficiencies can be made to benefit West Coast ratepayers.’’

Mrs Annear said that as part of the Commission’s brief to promote good-quality local government, it was eager to add value where it felt it could.

“We think we can provide added momentum to work on joint RMA planning and to the vital business of regional roading infrastructure, both critical to growth and economic development,’’ she said.

The Commission is now starting to plan a community engagement programme for the reorganisation process and anticipates this will take place before the middle of the year.

 

Media Contacts

Simon Cunliffe | Local Government Commission | Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
DDI +64 4 474 8164| MOB +64 27 809 3833 | Simon.Cunliffe@dia.govt.nz

Nichola Costley | Communications Manager | West Coast Regional Council
MOB 021 168 6987 | nc@wcrc.govt.nz

Andrew Robb – Chairman West Coast Regional Council

027 483 8253