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Friday, 7 November 2008

THE APPLICATION TO THE LGC SO FAR

The petition/application to the Local Government Commissions to move the Hauraki Gulf Islands to Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) was personally lodged with the four affected councils, starting on Friday the 26th of September 2008 with the original to TCDC, followed by copies to the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and Auckland City Council (ACC) in the morning of the following Monday, and Environment Waikato Regional Council (EW) in the afternoon.

Also in the morning it was delivered to Independent Election Services with a covering letter from Thames-Coromandel's CEO, Steve Ruru, asking that it be validated to make sure it had the necessary minimum number of signatures. In law it must be signed by 10% or more of registered affected electors.

That hurdle was easily passed on the first pass (counting the easy ones), so at 10.5% the count was stopped. The petition/application was now legal. That was announced by Independent Election Services on Friday the 3rd of October.

The chairman of ARC acknowleged the petition/application in a brief letter a few days later. EW did the same in a precisely-worded letter, perfectly sheeted home to Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002, which is the governing legislation for the process that has now been set in train. TCDC had of course acknowledged it personally on Friday the 26th, and with the covering letter from Steve Ruru.

In law the four councils had to decide if the Reorganisation Scheme based on the Reorganisation Proposal will be developed by a joint committee or if one council will be nominated to do it. If they cannot agree within 60 days, in this case by the 25th of November, the application must go straight to the LGC.

Auckland Regional Council, Environment Waikato Regional Council and Thames-Coromandel District Council have now all voted to send it straight to the LGC, so it no longer matters what Auckland City Council wants. It never said a word about it at its last meeting on the 24th of October, but now whether it agrees or disagrees the result is the same--it has to go straight to the LGC. That means the councils have also given up any right to stop the application further down the track. It also shortens the process somewhat.

The next phase is submissions to the LGC from interested parties, a phase which lasts two months once it begins, then the LGC makes its ruling. That will be sometime early next year.

Submissions must be grounded in the points of law that the LGC's decision must be made on. They cannot just be 'I agree' or 'I disagree', 'It's brilliant' or 'It's looney.' Submitters have to offer evidence or proof to support their contention that under one of those points the application should be granted or denied.