See Latest: Summary of West Coast Feedback (12 August 2016)
The Commission is an independent statutory body with two main roles. It makes decisions in relation to how local authorities should be structured in response to applications for change. It also determines electoral arrangements for councils where council decisions on these arrangements are appealed to the Commission.
In addition, the Commission has a role in promoting good local government that is efficient, effective and accountable to local communities. It places great emphasis on working collaboratively with communities and councils to come up with local solutions to local government issues.
Last year the Local Government Commission received an application asking it to look at local government arrangements on the West Coast, with a view to making changes.
It is important for the Commission to get input from affected communities early in the process. The Commission wants to hear what the West Coast communities’ views are about local government on the West Coast.
For example, the Commission wants to hear what the community likes about the current way their councils are set up and the way services are delivered. It also wants to know whether the community thinks local government on the West Coast could be strengthened.
The applicants asked for more efficient and cost-effective local government arrangements. They requested a simplified and unified local government system. The applicants believe this change is needed to:
Separate to this public engagement (but at the same time) the Commission is working with the West Coast Mayoral Forum on two regional efficiency initiatives – Resource Management Act planning processes and roading arrangements. These are potentially areas where efficiencies can be made to benefit West Coast residents, ratepayers and businesses.
These initiatives were selected for investigation because they had been identified by the West Coast councils as areas of common interest; and because there is the potential for significant gains to ratepayers from reviewing how these services are delivered.
The Commission and the West Coast councils are collaborating on this work.
The community is currently represented by three district councils: the Buller District Council, the Grey District Council and the Westland District Council. There is also one regional council, the West Coast Regional Council.
The Buller District Council has a mayor and 10 councillors. Buller District also has a community board in Inangahua comprising four elected members and the two councillors for the area. The Grey and Westland District Councils each have a mayor and eight councillors. The West Coast Regional Council has seven councillors, including the chair.
District councils’ responsibilities include:
Regional council responsibilities include:
The West Coast (Te Tai Poutini) is unique in many respects.