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Auckland reorganisation

Overview:

High Court judgement on appeal against Auckland reorganisation decision

On 30 April 2020, the High Court released its judgement on the Northern Action Group’s appeal against the Commission’s decision not to establish a North Rodney unitary authority. The High Court found in favour of the Commission on each point of appeal raised.

You can read the judgement here: Northern Action Group v The Local Government Commission (PDF, 418KB)

Working with Auckland Council: Recommendations 

Auckland Council responses to recommendations

In June 2018, the Commission received Auckland Council’s initial response to its report Enhancing local government for Aucklanders: Recommendations to Auckland Council. In November 2018, the Commission received a further update from Auckland Council on its responses to its report and recommendations.

You can see the council’s responses here:

Auckland Council's Initial Response, June 2018 (PDF, 248KB)

Auckland Council’s Further Response, November 2018 (PDF, 712KB)

Media release: Encouraging progress for Waiheke, Rodney (29 June 2018)

Commission's recommendations to Auckland Council

While the Commission decided not to issue a draft reorganisation proposal for Auckland, this did not mean it considered the council’s operations and services were optimally aligned for all its diverse communities. It noted the Auckland Region had been through a period of major change with the amalgamation of eight councils in 2010 and was at this time shifting from a phase of consolidation to one of improving services and responsiveness.

The Commission noted the council faced a number of challenges and considered it was an opportune time for it to consider how best to meet these challenges. Armed with the information and feedback received during the reorganisation process, the Commission considered it was in a good position to reflect on what could be done to make local government work better for the residents, businesses and communities of Auckland, and in particular in Auckland’s outer areas.

Accordingly the Commission compiled a detailed report with a series of recommendations to Auckland Council with this in mind.

You can read the Commission’s report here: Recommendations to the Auckland Council report

Media release: Enhancing local government for Aucklanders (22 March 2018)

Notice of appeal on Auckland reorganisation decision

Northern Action Group Incorporated (NAG) and Our Waiheke, whose proposals for a North Rodney Unitary Authority and a Waiheke Unitary Authority respectively were not considered to meet the statutory requirements for reasonably practicable options for local government in Auckland, appealed the Commission’s decision to the High Court.

Copies of the notices of appeal can be found here:

The Commission subsequently advised that:

  • Any person who made a submission to the Commission on Auckland local government reorganisation may appear and be heard at the hearing of the NAG and Our Waiheke appeals. If they wished to appear and be heard in Court they must lodge a notice expressing this intention to the High Court in Wellington by 24 February 2018 (under Local Government Act 2002, Schedule 5, Clause 7(1)).
  • If they made a submission to the Commission on the decision, they also had a right to appeal the decision on any legal ground other than those raised in the NAG and Our Waiheke appeals. To do so, they must lodge a notice to this effect with the High Court in Wellington by 14 March 2018 (under Local Government Act 2002, Schedule 5, Clause 3(1)).

Auckland reorganisation decision

On 10 November 2017, the Commission determined its preferred option for local government in the Auckland Council affected area was the existing local government arrangements in Auckland – the status quo. 

The options for North Rodney and Waiheke Unitary Authorities were not considered to meet the statutory tests for reasonably practicable options set out in the Local Government Act 2002 because:

  • they would not have a region that is appropriate for the efficient performance of their role; and  
  • they would not have the resources necessary to carry out effectively their responsibilities, duties and powers.

Having considered the relevant matters, the Commission was satisfied that the existing local government arrangements was the preferred option as it would, in the affected area of Auckland, best promote the purpose of local government and would facilitate improved economic performance.

The final determination can be found here:

More details can be found in the Commission’s decision paper and supporting documents below.

Auckland Reorganisation Decision Paper 
Includes APPENDIX A - Comment on financial analysis (PDF, 457KB)

APPENDIX B - Morrison Low report (PDF, 2.4MB)

APPENDIX C - Peer Review Panel minutes (PDF, 113KB)

APPENDIX D - Communities of Interest study - Rodney (PDF, 1.1MB)

APPENDIX E - Communities of Interest study - Waiheke (PDF, 808KB)

APPENDIX F - Community support research findings (PDF, 746KB)

See our media release: No change for North Rodney, Waiheke (30 November 2017) 

Auckland options assessment 

9 August 2017 – The Commission released a report authored by Morrison Low to assist the Commission identify the “reasonably practicable options’’ for local government in Auckland as part of the current reorganisation process.

The Commission noted that the report’s findings were just one input into the Commission’s decision-making process and that it would also consider communities of interest analysis and the results and findings of other investigations or inquiries it considered appropriate in its determination of the reasonably practicable options and, subsequently, the preferred option for local government change in Auckland.

The reasonably practicable options must always include the status quo local government arrangements for the affected area (Auckland). 

Talking to Auckland communities

The Commission ran a community engagement programme from September to  December 2016 to provide the Auckland community, particularly people from Rodney and Waiheke Island, with an opportunity to provide feedback on local government arrangements and performance in Auckland. A summary of the engagement process and feedback received (released 2 March 2017) can be read here:

The public engagement programme included public meetings and drop-in sessions held in Rodney and Waiheke, and an online survey. A timetable of the meetings and drop-in sessions held can be found here:

The ‘summary of feedback record’ has not been verified for factual accuracy or completeness and does not constitute a Local Government Commission position.

Alternative applications for the Auckland Council area

The call for alternative applications brought the total number of proposals for change in the Auckland region to 38 including the Waiheke application and an alternative submitted by the North Rodney Action Group.

The submissions received following the call for alternative applications for local government reorganisation in the Auckland Council area can be read here:

Media releases:

Invitation for alternative applications for local government reorganisation in the Auckland Council area (20 April 2016)

Auckland reorganisation applications

Further decisions on North Rodney and Waiheke applications

On 14 April 2016, the Commission decided the affected area for the North Rodney application was the Auckland Council area. You can read an outline of the decision here:

North Rodney decision (April 2016)

The Commission subsequently publicly notified this decision and called for alternative applications for local government reorganisation in the affected area to be submitted by 24 June.

On 29 May 2016, the Commission determined to treat the Waiheke application as an alternative application for local government reorganisation in the Auckland Council area within the process initiated by the North Rodney application.

Media release: Waiheke application part of Auckland Council process (30 May 2016)

Waiheke application

In December 2015, the Commission received a reorganisation application for a Waiheke unitary authority from a group called ‘Our Waiheke’.

At its March 2016 meeting, the Commission agreed to assess the application. You can read the application and related media release here:

Media release: Commission to assess Waiheke application (March 2016)

Decision to assess North Rodney application

In August 2015, following a decision by the High Court finding against the Commission’s decision to decline to assess the application, the Commission agreed to assess the North Rodney reorganisation application. You can read an outline of that decision here:

Commission to assess North Rodney application (21 August 2015)

Decision on North Rodney application

In June 2014, the Commission declined to assess the North Rodney reorganisation application. You can read an outline of that decision here:

Decision on North Rodney application (1 July 2014)

North Rodney application

On 1 November 2013, the Northern Action Group submitted an application for establishment of a North Rodney unitary council. You can read the application here:

North Rodney application (PDF, 1.3MB)