The anti-democratic madness continues apace in Tauranga. Following the Government-appointed Commissioners recent decision to establish a Māori ward, they have also agreed to a new committee – the Strategy, Finance and Risk Committee - which embodies the 'Treaty partnership', but goes further than that, effectively shutting out the wider community.
The committee will consist of the following membership:
- four commissioners with the Commission Chair appointed as the Chairperson of the committee
- the Chairperson of Te Rangapū Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana
- three tangata whenua representatives (recommended by Te Rangapū Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana and appointed by Council)
- an independent external person appointed by the Council
The tangata whenua representatives and the independent external person are to have voting rights as do the Commissioners. The Chairperson of Te Rangapu Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana is an advisory position, without voting rights, designed to ensure mana whenua discussions are connected to the committee.
Under this arrangement 82% of Tauranga citizens are to have no representation at all on this influential committee which will be dealing with matters that directly affect the entire community. Besides dealing with finance and risk, the role includes reviewing and determining the policy and bylaw framework that will assist in achieving the strategic priorities and outcomes for the Tauranga City Council.
The report accompanying the recommendation admits that the undemocratic structure of the committee could give cause to doubt its legitimacy in the eyes of the community:
“Affording voting rights to four of the five external representatives on the SFRC creates a situation where there is an equal number of external representatives with voting rights as the Commissioners. There is a risk that this could be perceived by members of the public as a shift in the balance of power away from the Commission to external people who are neither elected nor appointed by the Minister of Local Government”.
There has been no engagement with the wider community at all
To add insult to injury, the Council did not bother to consult Tauranga citizens on this radical departure from accepted governance practices. The first time this proposal came to the attention of the public was when the agenda was posted online just four days before the meeting of 27 April – the day before a long weekend. Indeed, the recommendations include the following statement: “There is no requirement to engage or consult with the public about the governance structure. Taking into consideration the above assessment, that the decision is of low significance, officers are of the opinion that no further engagement is required prior to Council making a decision”.
This makes it blatantly obvious that the powers-that-be have absolutely no regard for, or interest in, the opinions of ‘the SILENCED majority’, and brings into sharp relief what is happening in other areas of Government policy.
For more information about the Strategy, Finance and Risk Committee see from p.23 of the Ordinary Council Meeting Tuesday, 27 April 2021 agenda by clicking HERE.
Local Government review begins this week
The structure of this committee is far from fair to the people of Tauranga – they have effectively been shut out. This does not bode well for the outcome of the Local Government review commencing this month, especially taking into account that the Minister - the same one who appointed the commissioners for Tauranga - is seeking recommendations to achieve “a local government system that actively embodies the Treaty partnership, through the role and representation of iwi/Māori in local government, and seeks to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and its principles through its functions and processes”.
See more on the Department of Internal Affairs website at: The Future for Local Government
Nanaia Mahuta: Independent review to explore future for local government
Point of Order: Overhaul ahead for local authorities and their governance