The Government is poised to again install commissioners in place of a local council mired in difficulty.
Local Government Minister David Carter this afternoon announced commissioners would take over at the debt-laden council.
Commissioners were installed in place of councillors at Environment Canterbury in 2010 amidst anger over in-fighting and poor performance. They remain in place and have been credited with an improved performance at the regional council.
A review team was installed at Kaipara in June, looking in to financial and governance "challenges" facing the council.
The council faced a rates revolt earlier this year over a proposed average rate rise of 31 per cent. The rates demand was sparked by massive debt, mostly caused by the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme. The council is among the most indebted per capita in New Zealand at $4142, with a total debt of $85.2 million.
Carter today said the council had asked for the appointment of independent commissioners following a briefing from the review team.
"Kaipara District Council is facing a range of problems including the size of its debt, invalidity of previous rates, management of its infrastructure and loss of confidence amongst parts of the community," he said.
"The Council’s request to appoint commissioners under the Local Government Act is made in the best interests of the district, and I applaud that."
Cabinet would have to agree to the request to appoint commissioners before it could be established.
"In the meantime, the mayor and councillors will continue in office and the Government expects that they will continue to carry out their duties, including adopting Kaipara’s long term plan," Carter said.
Kaipara mayor Neil Tiller said the decision was clear after looking at the report put forward by the review team.
"It hasn' been easy - these issues have been compounding and council was never made aware of the enormity."
He said the commissioners would be well supported by Kaipara District Council chief executive Steve Ruru and his staff.
The review team's report will be available to the public when the minister decides.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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