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  • Andrew von Dadelszen

If Councils stick to “core business” and we can afford our amenities

Our Regional, District & City Councils all seem to think that they are responsible for the social wellbeing of our communities. This is a “nice to do” but is not a requirement, and is costing ratepayers hugely. It is time for our Councils to get back to their “core business”, and the 2010 Amendments to the Local Government Act 2002 lay this out clearly. The 2010 Amendment “encourages councils to focus on core services by requiring councils to have particular regard to the contribution to their communities of:

  • network infrastructure;

  • public transport services;

  • solid waste collection and disposal;

  • the avoidance and mitigation of natural hazards; and

  • libraries, museums, reserves, recreational facilities, and other community infrastructure.”

The 2002 Act (section 14) requires all councils to take a consistent approach to their activities, including:

  • Conducting their business in a clear, transparent and democratically accountable way.

  • Operating in an efficient and effective manner.

  • Making themselves aware of and having regard to the views of all their communities.

  • Taking a sustainable development approach (thinking about the social, economic and cultural interests of people and communities, the need to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment, and the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations).

Issues like social housing are not part of council’s core business (this is a Central Government issue), but improving our public amenities is. If our current councillors stuck to their mandate, then Tauranga City would have been able to afford its libraries, museums, reserves, recreational facilities, and other community infrastructure (as stated in the Act). I am one who believes that we have to build a substantive sports stadium close to downtown Tauranga. How do we afford it? That’s easy - we prioritise and don’t waste money on things outside Council’s mandate. Just as importantly, Council operates in an efficient and effective manner. Come on Tauranga - canvas your elected representatives to operate within their mandate, so that we can get the amenities that we so deserve.

If you have a view on these or any other local government issues, I invite you to email me at , or visit

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