Local Government Act 2002
|Local Government Act 2002|
|New Zealand Parliament|
|This Act is the Local Government Act 2002|
|Date of Royal Assent||24 December 2002|
|Date commenced||1 July 2003|
|Introduced by||Sandra Lee|
|Local Government Act of 1974|
|Status: Current legislation|
The Local Government Act 2002 of New Zealand is an Act of New Zealand's Parliament that defines Local Government in New Zealand. There are 73 local districts or territorial authorities, each with an elected Mayor and elected Councillors. The districts are grouped under 12 Regional Authorities.
In December 1999 Sandra Lee was appointed Local Government Minister in the Labour/Alliance Coalition Government. Lee rewrote the Local Government Act of 1974 so that it was readable to the general public and addressed matters that had come up in the intervening 28 years. Jeanette Fitzsimons, co-leader of the Green party, was appointed chairperson of the select committee. With over 100 amendments, the 1974 Act had become an unwieldy mish-mash of 1950s and 60s prescriptive planning, overlaid with 1990s accountability and financial provisions, with a complicated numbering system. For example, one of the 1974 Act's highly prescriptive provisions was s663, which gave councils a statutory power to install, light and maintain a town clock.
The Local Government Act 2002 included a focus on sustainability with the reference to the 'four well-beings' social, economic, environmental and cultural. The purpose of the Act is (a) to enable democratic decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and (b) to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and in the future. The Local Government Act 2002 received the Royal assent on 24 December 2002.
The Special Consultative Procedure (SCP) is a key part of the Local Government Act 2002 which must be used when changes to the Long Term Plan (LTP) are to be made. SCP is triggered by the significance policy stated in the LTP and even changes to the significance policy must happen by way of SCP.
All by-law introductions, amendments or omissions are made using the SCP. The SCP is used when changes in level of service happen in the LTP or when significance levels are reached of a percentage of revenue or a few people are affected a greatly or many people are affected generally by the proposal. By-law changes and updates must happen under the SCP provisions in preparation for all by-laws being through the SCP by 30 June 2008.
All by-laws must keep current and be not older than 10 years without an SCP taking place to keep by-laws current. Transparency in the processes of Council is facilitated by the SCP safeguards in the Act. New Zealand's Local and Regional Authority will have its first full LTP, with Community Outcomes, complete from each district by 31 July 2006 when they will be required to have passed through the SCP and be lodged in the Parliamentary Library in Wellington. Once this process is complete the use of the SCP will become regularly used in updating the LTP and any major changes that happen to come along.
In SCP a statement of proposal and a summary of the Statement of Proposal is a required to go out for community feedback. The draft full document requires not less than one month for public submissions to be sent into council. These submission can be heard in person if the submitter wishes and full council listens and consults on all submissions in making a decision over the draft proposal. Once passed the document is no longer draft and the SCP requirement has been satisfied.
In Consultation outside the SCP which happens with the Community Outcomes process the principles of consultation remain the same as stated in the Act and are a major focus of all consultation with the community in Local Government under the Local Government Act 2002.
Community Outcomes s.91
Community Outcomes are statements that are derived from full consultation with stakeholders in the community and happen at least once every six years. Each District and Region has Community Outcomes that the community has decided upon. Community Outcomes are a requirement of the Local Government Act 2002.
By 31 July 2006 the Long Term Council Community Plans 2006 - 2016 will be in the Parliamentary Library for 86 Territorial Authorities. The Community Outcomes will be printed in this document for each area. It was optional until 2006 and now Community Outcomes are a must. Eleven LTA did not comply with pre-Audit requirements and whether they will make the deadline is not yet known. Three others will not have sign off by full Council by 30 June 2006 and this will have spending implications for the councils until sign off does happen.
Measures and Indicators s.92
Section 92 of the Local Government Act 2002 requires measures and indicators, not less than once every 3 years, on the progress of the community towards the Community Outcomes is reported. Debate around whether it is from a regional perspective or from the location of the community outcome area perspective will take a number of years and three yearly cycles to resolve.
It is suggested that the Minister's intent at the time of drafting the Act was clearly for it to be locally focused. A local focus to support the people who develop the community outcomes to self determine what is best for the area in which they live and work.
The name of this document or report is the State of the District Report (SOD). Base line reports are being made by some council's before to measure progress by. An example of a good local authority base line SOD is the South Waikato District Council State of the District Report.
Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP)
The unfoldment of the Local Government Act 2002 required that a Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP)2004-2014 be prepared by all the Local and Regional Councils of New Zealand. Next in the LGA 2002 was the consultation process to identity the Community Outcomes of the District. The Community Outcomes did not belong to Council but were a Community's District Outcomes. The LGA 2002 stated that the LTCCP 2006-2016 was required to have the District's Community Outcomes included at this time. The Community Outcome progress is reported at least every three years and at least once every six years the full round of consultation to identify the Community Outcomes must happen. Each LTCCP is audited by the Auditor General every three years. Since a 2010 Amendment, the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) has been renamed, simply, the Long Term Plan (LTP).
State of the District report
Progress of the community in their Community Outcomes are to be reported at least once every three years with the first deadline having been 2009. The report of this community progress can be known as the State of the District report. Measures and indicators to this end are developed around measurement and reporting on progress to the community outcomes. A whole science is developing around where the attribution of outputs lies with regards to the outcomes being advanced. The question in the State of the District report is which part of the community's outputs contribute to the community outcomes and by how much if any.
Bylaws are required to be consulted upon using the Special Consultative Procedure in the Local Government Act 2002. All bylaws must be consulted with by the community by 30 June 2008. No bylaws may be older than 10 years without needing to return to the community again for consultation.
August 2006 the Government agreed to have an independent enquiry for Local Government Rates.
Local government elections occur every three years. October 2013 is the next round of local government elections. The 2007 elections were the first conducted where the Community Outcomes are fully integrated into the Long Term Council Community Plan and audited for this purpose. All territorial authorities must have Community Outcomes printed and integrated into the LTCCP 2006-2016.
- Local Government Act 2002: free at last?, Chapman Tripp website, 14 Feb 2003, As Published in NZ Environment, Issue 26, 14–27 February 2003.
- Local Government Act 2002, Section 3, Purpose, Parliament of New Zealand, 2002.
- South Waikato District Council State of the District Report, retrieved 12 January 2008.