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Alteration to the boundary between Western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga City

Overview:

Invitation for alternative reorganisation applications in response to an application for a change to the boundary between Western Bay of Plenty District and Tauranga City

On 15 March 2019 the Local Government Commission released a public notice inviting alternative applications in response to an application for a change to the boundary between Western Bay of Plenty District and Tauranga City.  You can read the public notice here:

The information on this page is designed to assist those who may be interested submitting their own alternative reorganisation application or other proposal.

If you are interested in this process you can submit any alternative application by Thursday 18 April 2019.

Background

On 1 November 2018 the Commission received a local government reorganisation application from the Western Bay of Plenty District council for a change in its boundary with Tauranga City.  The effect of the proposal is to transfer approximately 189.ha of land at Tauriko West from the district into the city.  The affected area which would become part of the city if the proposal were to proceed is shown on the map here:

On 29 November the Commission determined that the application met the necessary statutory tests and has agreed to assess the application.  You can read the Commission’s November decision here:

The effect of this is that a reorganisation process will now take place in accordance with the process set out in Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act.
The first step in this is for the Commission to invite alternative applications. This is the opportunity for anybody who is interested to put forward alternative proposals for the future local government of the affected area.

Original reorganisation application

The original reorganisation application arises from work undertaken by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council Bay of Plenty Regional Council and other stakeholders on how to provide sufficient urban land for the future development of the Tauranga urban area over the coming decades.  You can find further information about this work at the websites of the Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District council and at www.taurikofortomorrow.co.nz.

This work identified land at Tauriko West as the most appropriate area for future urban development to accommodate the expected growth in the population of the urban area. 

Part of this area however currently lies outside the city boundaries and is within the Western Bay of Plenty District.  The application seeks to move this area into the city.  This is seen as desirable because it would enable planning and infrastructure development for the whole new urban area can be undertaken by a single local authority and would mean the future residential community would sit within a single rather local authority area rather than being divided between two. 

You can read the original application and additional supporting information here:

The Commission is now inviting alternative applications to this original application. The purpose of this process is to provide an opportunity for interested groups or individuals to put other ideas on the table before the Commission considers what it sees as the best solution.  At this stage the Commission has not formed any view on what the best outcome.

Making an alternative application

What is an alternative application?

An “alternative application” is simply a proposal for some other change to local government in the affected area that falls within the broad definition of “local government reorganisation” contained in section 24 of the Local Government Act. This may include the:

  • union of district or regions
  • constitution of a new district or region, including the constitution of a new local authority for that new district or region
  • abolition of a district or region, including the dissolution or abolition of the local authority for that district or region
  • alteration of the boundaries of any district or region
  • transfer of a statutory obligation from one local authority to another
  • assumption by a territorial authority of the powers of a regional council.

You can read section 24 of the Local Government Act here.

What happens next?

Once the Commission has received alternative reorganisation applications, it will then identify what it sees as the “reasonably practicable options”.

These may include the original reorganisation application, or they may reflect alternatives proposed by other people, or be options that the Commission may identify for itself. By law, the reasonably practicable options must also include current local government arrangements i.e. no change. Options must meet certain legislative criteria before they can be considered “reasonably practicable”.  To be a “reasonably practicable option”, the Commission must be satisfied that:

  • a new or changed council will have the resources to carry out its responsibilities effectively
  • a new or changed district or region will be appropriate for the efficient performance of the local authority’s responsibilities
  • a new or changed district or region will contain distinct communities of interest
  • flooding and water management issues will be able to be effectively dealt with (if the option includes the regional council’s role).

The Commission will then identify its “preferred option”. In addition to meeting requirements for “reasonably practicable options”, the Commission must take into account the following further matters:

  • which option will best promote “good local government” which includes:
    • enabling democratic local decision-making
    • providing good quality infrastructure, services and regulatory performance
  • which option will facilitate improved economic performance which may include:
    • efficiencies and cost savings
    • productivity improvements
    • simplified planning processes

If the Commission’s preferred option is not the “no change” option, it would then prepare a draft reorganisation proposal.  There would then be a period of community consultation  including a submissions process. The Commission would then consider whether to proceed to issue a final reorganisation proposal.  If the Commission were to decide on the “no change” option in relation to reorganisation it would end its process there.