Council elections are pending. Voting will be by postal vote, and will close midday on October 8 this year.
All residents of Kaipara who are eighteen or older are entitled to vote. Ratepayers who are not residents, but have property in Kaipara are also entitled to vote.
Nominations open for those who seek to stand for Council on Friday July 15. Nominations close on Friday August 12. If you are thinking of standing and want some information on election matters or what is involved should you be elected, contact Council’s Electoral Official, Sean Mahoney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sean has developed a “Frequently Asked Questions” sheet that will be helpful.
Alternatively, you can contact the Electoral Officer for Kaipara, Dale Ofsoske at email@example.com.
Newly elected members will find a well-functioning organisation to support them. Most of the issues which led to the stepping down of the previously elected Councillors are behind us. An appropriately constructed framework is in place to encourage good governance.
The focus of the Council organisation is quite different to what it was in 2012. Our emphasis has been to shift resources away from anything that is not the core business of a Council, and so to relieve ratepayers of the responsibility for funding these non-core activities.
In a financial sense, the Kaipara District Council has a long term financial plan and budget in place which newly elected members will inherit. Under this plan, expenditure is tightly controlled. Annual rate increases are forecasted to average just above three percent over the next ten years, the lowest in the region. Debt will continue to decrease.
Our Council balance sheet is healthy. Last month we were accepted as potential borrowers into the Local Government Funding Agency, a real vote of confidence. This means that the Council will be able to borrow at lower, more competitive rates than it has been able to previously.
The Commissioners have completed most of the tasks assigned to them when appointed. Those yet to be completed include the appointment of a Chief Executive. The recruitment process for this is well underway. We expect to announce the successful candidate in April.
We also have to complete the final move to bring inside Council the professional services that support our large investment in roads. This effectively means that Council staff will replace consultants. We anticipate savings and efficiencies to be generated from this move which will be complete by July 1 this year.
Two streams of work might not be completed by the October elections. These both involve matters before the Courts.
Firstly, there are the matters to do with holding to account those who were negligent in earlier years when the Council got into trouble – Council Auditors and a former Chief Executive. We are working diligently to seek redress.
Secondly, there is the matter of the Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association who are seeking to appeal their latest dismissal by the Court of Appeal, to the Supreme Court.
It would be good to bring closure to these matters before the Commissioners leave.
Back to my earlier point. Elections are pending. It would be great to see a list of candidates passionate about Kaipara and qualified to represent the district. The opportunity for Kaipara to elect a governing body of excellence is before us.
If you want to know more, contact Sean or Dale per their details above, or if you wish to discuss such matters with me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message with Council staff at 0800 727 059 and I will call you back.