29 November 2014
Minister for Planning and Local Government
Next Step in Voluntary Council Amalgamations
This week, I wrote to all 29 mayors to invite them along with their Deputy Mayors and General Managers to regional meetings early next year to discuss voluntary amalgamations.
We know from informal discussions that there is an appetite for structural reform in Local Government to deliver improved services to communities.
With the elections concluded, now is the time to take the initiative and consider how we can improve councils' strategic capacity, financial sustainability and service delivery.
There's no doubt potential amalgamations are a big step and we need to take a careful and considered approach to developing options.
The next step in this process is bringing all councils together on a regional basis to discuss amalgamation opportunities in early February.
These meetings will allow the Government to outline the proposed process and discuss timeframes. We recognise councils would need to conduct feasibility studies and these meetings will allow us to discuss how the government can support the process.
As we've previously said, there are some very clear principles that must be met before we would consider an amalgamation proposal. Amalgamations must:
- be in the interest of rate payers;
- improve the level of services for communities;
- preserve and maintain local representation; and
- ensure that the financial status of the entities is strengthened.
(published without alteration)