A flyer circulated by the Local Government Commission prompted a further complaint to the Auditor General today, this time alleging misrepresentation of the nature and role of the Maori Board and the Regional Planning Committee on the proposed Hawkes Bay Council.
Napier ratepayer Sarah Taylor, who lodged the complaint, said a full-page diagram depicting the future composition of the amalgamated council on the flyer titled Hawkes Bay Councils proposed changes completely ignores the iwi appointed representatives on the Maori Board and Regional Planning Committee.
Any reader of the document scrutinising the full page diagram would easily be led to believe that recommendations for special representation of iwi interests within the amalgamated council structure had been shelved, Ms Taylor said.
Moreover, placing the Maori Board and a Regional Planning Committee under the heading elected representatives” is a material misrepresentation because members of these panels are appointees and were not elected, she said.
The wording on the flyer that says a Maori board and a regional planning committee, made up of council and iwi representatives, would ensure Maori participation in decision-making and would be an important source of advice to the council confuses the roles of the Maori Board and Regional Planning Committee, Ms Taylor said.
While the Maori Board would have an advisory role, iwi/hapu representatives on the regional planning committee exercise full voting rights over an important delegated function for example the promulgation and review of documents under the Resource Management Act.
The flyer omits to mention that the Regional Planning Committee was established under a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with local iwi/hapu and that the commission recommends that the role of the committee be entrenched.
“This is significant information that the commission should disclose to the Hawkes Bay public to allow an informed opinion on the amalgamation proposal”, Ms Taylor said.
The Position Paper issued by the Local Government Commission in November [para 4.27] states that there is the potential for the role of the Regional Planning Committee to be extended to include district planning as the result of treaty settlement process.
The commission should also disclose this potential extension of Regional Planning Committee powers to the wider Hawkes Bay public to ensure a general understanding of the proposal in its entirety, Ms Taylor said.
This is the second complaint to the Auditor General about the proposed Hawkes Bay council amalgamation.
A complaint early this month to the Auditor General by the Napier and Wairoa councils was prompted by a claim by the commission that work was required on the infrastructure of those councils.
The Napier and Wairoa councils said the financial analysis used to support those infrastructure claims was out by $1-billion.