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Veto, Citizens' Initiated and Recall referendum.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Hide: Referendum will decide four-year council terms

NBR: Local government Minister Rodney Hide has raised the possibility of four-year terms in local and central government.

Answering a question at an EMA Northern breakfast seminar on the super city for Auckland, he said the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommended a four-year term for councils.

But this would not be practical unless the central government term was also extended to avoid clashes of election times. Such a change would not occur without a referendum, Mr Hide said.

Neither Act nor National has a policy of extending the parliamentary term.

Most of Mr Hide’s presentation was spent answering questions on transitional arrangements for the move to a single Auckland council by the 2010 local government elections.

Details of a transition agency will be in a bill to be introduced under urgency in Parliament this week. It will be followed by another bill on the new structure of a single council and up to 30 community boards.

He has revealed these boards will be bulk-funded from the single council, which will have powers to raise "targetted" rates for local projects, as recommended by the commission.

He says the council ward and community board boundaries, yet to be established, will be based on common interests rather than population size to reflect differences. But he is also keen to ensure income disparities among various communities are not entrenched.

“This is no easy transition,” Mr Hide says, adding that the transition agency would have the power to prevent a “spend up” by the outgoing councils, as happened in the previous local body amalgamation.

Mr Hide says he would prefer a more arms-length company such as Christchurch City Holdings to own the merged commercial assets of the new Auckland council, but that was an issue “you must keep working on Mr [Prime Minister John] Key.”

Under present proposals, the council will directly own and manage these assets, which amount to nearly $30 billion, as council-controlled trading enterprises.

By contrast, Christchurch City Holdings, which holds stakes in Lyttelton Port Co, Orion Group and Christchurch International Airport, operates as more of an independent commercial subsidiary of the council.

1 comment:

Steve Baron said...

I'm ofering odds of 100 to 1 that a four year term would be rejected unless there is the check and balance of binding referendums.