General policy statement
The purpose of this Bill is to constitute the Rodney District Council as a unitary authority. As such it will have the responsibilities, duties, and powers of a territorial authority and a regional council in respect of the Rodney district.
The Rodney district will retain the boundaries that it has had since the local government reorganisation in 1989. It will also retain its existing wards.
Because of time constraints, it is necessary to defer the local authority elections for Rodney for 1 year. There will be a general election in 2011 to cover a 2-year period, and triennial general elections will resume in 2013.
Consequentially, Rodney is excluded from the Auckland Region and the new Auckland Council.
Clause by clause analysis
Clause 1 is the Title clause.
Clause 2 is the commencement clause and provides for the Bill to come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 3 sets out the purpose of the Bill, which is to constitute the Rodney District Council as a unitary authority for the Rodney district.
Clause 4 is the general interpretation provision. One effect of the definitions is that the general boundaries of the Rodney district will be those set by the Local Government Commission in 1989 and amended in 1997, not the more recently defined boundaries of the proposed Rodney Ward of the proposed Auckland Council.
Clause 5 continues the current Rodney district and Rodney District Council, and gives it the responsibilities, duties, and powers of a regional council. The effect of this is to constitute the council as a unitary authority.
The 4 current wards put in place in 2007 are retained.
Special provision is made to address the seaward boundaries and exclude islands that will remain with the Auckland Council.
Clause 6 requires the Local Government Commission to consequentially amend its recent determinations in respect of the boundaries, wards, subdivisions, and local board of the Auckland Council.
Similarly the electoral officer for the Auckland Council is required to consequentially amend the electoral rolls for the Auckland Council.
Clause 7 defers the general election for Rodney District Council for 1 year. The terms of office of existing members will continue until October 2011, when a general election will be held. That election will elect members for 2-year terms, and the triennial general election cycle will recommence in 2013.
This is necessary because it is not possible for the electoral processes to be completed between the passage of this Bill and the standard triennial general election date of 9 October 2010.
Clause 8 removes Rodney District Council from the status of an
“existing local authority” and Rodney Properties Limited from the status of an
“existing local government organisation” for the purposes of the special legislation relating to the Auckland Council.
Clause 9 deals with the identification and transfer of Auckland Regional Council assets and liabilities to Rodney District Council consequential upon Rodney District Council taking on the role of a regional council within its district.
The assets and liabilities to be transferred are those that relate to regional council activities in the Rodney district and an appropriate proportion of the general assets and liabilities of the Auckland Regional Council, including interests in council controlled organisations.
Regional parks are not affected, and remain with the Auckland Regional Council.
If the Auckland Transition Agency and Rodney District Council cannot agree on the assets and liabilities, or their value, then the matter is to be resolved by the Local Government Commission.
Clause 10 relates to the re-documentation of contracts, leases, and other agreements entered into by the Auckland Transition Agency that involve or affect Rodney District Council.
Clause 11 provides for the adoption in 2 parts of the 2010/2011 Annual Plan of Rodney District Council.
Clause 12 deals with transitional matters relating to the Resource Management Act 1991.
Clauses 13 and 14 deal with transitional matters relating to the Land Transport Management Act 2003 and the Public Transport Management Act 2008.
Clause 15 removes any doubt that may exist about the validity of any actions taken under other Acts that may become redundant or inappropriate by the passage of this Bill.
The Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill is currently going through the House. Assuming it passes with its current provisions, there will be a need to reinstate Rodney District Council in Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002 because the proposed section 35A of the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009 will remove that item.
Similarly, the reference to Rodney District Council in the proposed section 35J(5) of that Act would have to be removed, once it becomes law.
The following clause will also be required if the Bill passes in its current form:
If an order in Council has been made under section 35J of the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009 before this Act comes into force:
(a) that Order is of no effect in respect of the assets, liabilities, rights, obligations, or other matters of the Rodney District Council; and
(b) those things become the assets, liabilities, rights, obligations, or other matters of the Rodney District Council.