Summary The TCDC is supportive of moves designed to ensure good effective and local governance. We recognise that our communities across the District and indeed country are diverse, with different wants, needs, circumstances, challenges and opportunities. The TCDC believes that any local government legislation changes must enhance local democracy and efficiencies, not exacerbate legal and other issues for the Council which will drive up costs. Government will be well aware that TCDC has been the only Council to drive rate reductions for two years running (-6.9%) without impacting on asset condition or levels of service - and has done so under the present legislation. In other words, to us it is not the current legislation which is necessarily a problem. We place high value on the attributes of communityresponsive leadership, pragmatic decision-making, and watching every dollar before it is spent. A Case for Change: The TCDC is concerned that the Department of Internal Affairs has not provided sufficient evidence and analysis to demonstrate that the Bill is the most appropriate way forward. We maintain that some changes proposed in this Bill may actually increase this Council's costs and threaten the efficiencies we have worked hard for. Purpose Statement: The TCDC is not convinced that the change to the purpose statement will achieve any better cost efficiencies or better governance. It is effectively ‘tinkering’, and could actually lead to unnecessary legal challenges arising. Fiscal Responsibility: The TCDC is already delivering the most prudent financial results in New Zealand and doing so under the present legislation. Although the benchmarking has merit, the TCDC has already implemented this. The TCDC would like the proposal amended to remove the provision of any 'one size fits all' approach to all local authorities. Council urges the Government to substantially reduce inefficient Audit costs for councils who are meeting their benchmarks. Intervention and Assistance Framework: The TCDC supports the proposed intervention and assistance framework in principle, subject to improvements being made to the definition of the terms 'problem' and 'reasonable grounds'. Reorganisation: The TCDC is supportive of the reorganisation proposal in principle and the inclusion of good local government criteria. The TCDC seeks changes to moderate overreliance on polls to determine the best local government organisation for an area, and as such suggest that the Local Government Commission be required to have regard to levels of community support indicated in the poll. Mayoral Powers: The TCDC is supportive of giving greater mayoral powers. Employment and Remuneration: The TCDC seeks that further analysis be made on the practical implications of this proposal, in particular the relationship of the new policy to the Employment Relations Act. There appear to be conflicts between the two sets of legislation, and certainly conflicts with existing staff contractual agreements. Read the full submission Download our submission by clicking on the link found in the download box on the right-hand side of this page. Please contact Katina Conomos for more information.