Coun­cils ad­vised to col­lab­o­rate and share

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Hav­ing ac­cepted that there is “no ap­petite” in North­land for lo­cal au­thor­ity amal­ga­ma­tions, the Lo­cal Govern­ment Com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended North­land Re­gional Coun­cil and the three dis­trict coun­cils main­tain their fo­cus on re­gional col­lab­o­ra­tion and ex­plo­ration of shared ser­vice op­por­tu­ni­ties.

It has also rec­om­mended that: * The may­ors and chair­man con­sider how they can most ef­fec­tively cham­pion and so­cialise the re­gional col­lab­o­ra­tion ap­proach and shared ser­vices within their districts;

* They con­sider re­cast­ing North­land For­ward To­gether as an ex­plic­itly multi-year pro­gramme and pro­vide greater clar­ity about the pri­or­i­ties, se­quenc­ing and re­sourc­ing of the projects and work streams un­der the North­land For­ward To­gether um­brella;

* They con­sider ap­ply­ing the con­cept of dis­persed ‘cen­tres of ex­cel­lence’ in de­vel­op­ing the North­land For­ward To­gether pro­gramme;

* They con­firm their com­mit­ment to the North­land Trans­porta­tion Al­liance (NTA) and its devel­op­ment along the lines en­vis­aged by the busi­ness case for its es­tab­lish­ment.

The com­mis­sion noted that there had been a sig­nif­i­cant change in the re­la­tion­ships among the coun­cils, and con­sid­er­able progress had been made in re­gional col­lab­o­ra­tion. Set­ting up North­land For­ward To­gether to ex­plore a range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for shared ser­vices was a pos­i­tive step, but there would be chal­lenges in re­sourc­ing such a large and di­verse shared ser­vices work pro­gramme.

The NTA, which was the first ar­range­ment of its type in New Zealand, was still at an early stage, and needed to be per­sisted with and de­vel­oped if the gains iden­ti­fied in the busi­ness case were to be achieved.

“The progress that the North­land coun­cils are mak­ing is only pos­si­ble be­cause of a ma­jor change in the re­la­tion­ships among the re­gion’s four coun­cils over the pe­riod since the re­or­gan­i­sa­tion ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged in early 2013,” the com­mis­sion said. “His­tor­i­cally re­la­tion­ships among North­land lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have tended at times to be quite frac­tious. With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, it is ap­par­ent that the re­or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­posal made to the com­mis­sion arose, at least in part, out of a break­down in re­la­tion­ships.” The North­land Re­gional Coun­cil has sold a Gil­lies St prop­erty it bought two years ago to safe­guard it as a fu­ture es­sen­tial link be­tween Kawakawa’s main street and a pro­posed Hun­dert­wasser Park Cen­tre devel­op­ment there.

Re­gional coun­cil­lor Justin Blaikie said the sale of the al­most 1000 square me­tre prop­erty to devel­op­ment backer Far North Hold­ings would take ef­fect on Fri­day.

The coun­cil paid $485,000 for 56 Gil­lies St, im­me­di­ately be­side the world-fa­mous toi­let com­plex de­vel­oped by the late Frieden­sre­ich Hun­dert­wasser, in 2016, to en­sure it would re­main avail­able as part of the pro­posed Kawakawa Hun­dert­wasser Park Cen­tre/Te Hononga, hon­our­ing the artist, who died in 2000.

The pro­posal is spear­headed by a char­i­ta­ble trust, the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil and FNHL.

With the project now pro­gress­ing, the re­gional coun­cil had sold the prop­erty to FNHL, at the same price it paid in 2016, with the pro­ceeds re­turn­ing to the coun­cil’s prop­erty rein­vest­ment fund.

Mr Blaikie said the coun­cil had also set aside $500,000 from its in­vest­ment and growth re­serve to as­sist with con­struc­tion of the Hun­dert­wasser Park Cen­tre.

“The trust needs to meet a num­ber of con­di­tions be­fore the money is pro­vided, in­clud­ing ob­tain­ing all nec­es­sary re­source and build­ing con­sents and a fixed price con­struc­tion ten­der.”

The trust had orig­i­nally been given un­til June 30 this year to meet the con­di­tions, but that had been ex­tended to De­cem­ber 31.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of Kawakawa’s Hun­dert­wasser Park — Te Hononga.

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