Council must consult with all
I write to clarify a number of points on Waikato Regional Council’s position over its consultation on the national cycling centre of excellence (velodrome) funding proposal.
Our legislative mandate on consultation comes from the Local Government Act 2002, which does not allow us to distinguish between ratepayers and non-ratepayers as we are required to consult and to take consideration of the views of the community.
The council must take a broad definition of affected and interested parties and therefore the council is conducting an open submission process, in line with practice nationally.
Some say we should only listen to ratepayers’ views. However, submissions from tenants are valid as their rent payments ultimately help cover the property owner’s rates bills.
If the council agrees to the funding request, the money would be repaid by ratepayers over 20 years, meaning the cost would be distributed across generations. No-one is happy to pay about $150,000 for consultation and further investigations by the council but most understand there is a cost to democracy and informed decisionmaking. Advertising and media coverage mean there is high awareness of the proposal and our