Governance Manual

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10.3.2 Division of responsibility between the governing body and local boards


  1. The general principle is that the governing body focuses on the regional picture and is responsible for decisions with an Auckland-wide impact or focus, as well as the council’s regulatory decision-making. Local boards are responsible for non-regulatory decisions that impact their local areas, unless there is a good reason why a decision should be made on an Auckland-wide basis.

  2. The Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 sets out technical rules for how the council shares decision-making responsibilities. These fall into four classes [1]:

    • decision-making the governing body must be responsible for

    • decision-making local boards must be responsible for

    • other non-regulatory decision-making for which responsibility can be allocated to either the governing body or the local board

    • special cases of decision-making about local activities for which both the governing body and local boards are responsible.

  3. Decisions the governing body must be responsible for are [2]:

    • regulatory responsibilities, duties or powers (including the Unitary Plan, resource consents and bylaws)

    • financial management (including the Annual Plan, the Long-term Plan and financial policies)

    • governance of council-controlled organisations

    • transport networks and infrastructure

    • acquisition and disposal of assets

    • the chief executive’s appointment

    • the council’s capacity to establish and maintain services and facilities

    • the allocation of non-regulatory decision-making responsibilities either to itself or to local boards.

  4. Decisions local boards must be responsible for are [3]:

    • identifying and communicating the interests and preferences of their communities as they relate to council strategies, policies, plans and bylaws

    • identifying and developing bylaws specifically for its local board area, and proposing them to the governing body

    • the agreement reached with the governing body (as set out in the local board agreement) in respect of local activities for its local board area

    • adopting a local board plan [4].

  5. Decision-making for any other non-regulatory activity must be allocated by the governing body either to itself or local boards [5]. The governing body must consider the views and preferences of local boards and apply the principle that local boards should be responsible for non-regulatory decisions unless decision-making on a region-wide basis will better promote the well-being of Auckland communities [6]. The reasons why governing body decision-making may be appropriate are [7]:

    • the impact of the decision will extend beyond a single local board area

    • effective decision-making will require alignment or integration with other governing body decisions

    • the benefits of a consistent or coordinated approach across Auckland will outweigh the benefits of reflecting the diverse needs and preferences of the communities within each local board area.

  6. The allocation of the council’s non-regulatory decision-making responsibilities is included in its long-term plan. The governing body may review this allocation at any time; in practice this only occurs every three years during the long-term planning process.

  7. There is provision in the legislation for a local board to dispute an allocation made by the governing body [8]. If one or more local board is dissatisfied with an allocation decision, both must make reasonable efforts to reach a solution [9]. If they cannot do so, the local board(s) may request a binding determination on the matter from the Local Government Commission [10]After following a complaints process, the commission can issue a binding determination and amend the allocation table [11].



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