A local government reorganisation proposal may deal with any or all of the following matters :
combining districts or regions
creating a new district or region, including a new local authority for it
abolishing a district or region, including the local authority
altering the boundaries of any district or region
transferring a statutory obligation from one local authority to another
a proposal that a territorial authority assume the power of a regional council
establishing, abolishing or altering the boundaries of a local board area
combining two or more local board areas.
Local government reorganisation applications are made to the Local Government Commission. There is a prescribed process for how the Commission must consider applications .
In the application stage, the commission first makes a decision whether to assess the application, before considering the affected area and whether there is community support for reorganisation. Alternative applications are called for and considered alongside both the original application and the existing arrangements, before the commission determines and notifies its preferred option.
If the current arrangements are the preferred option, the process for that application ends.
If the preferred option is something other than the current arrangements, the application progresses to the proposal stage. At this stage, the commission prepares and consults on a draft proposal before deciding whether or not to issue a final proposal; it may also issue a new draft proposal (which is then consulted on again). Final proposals are publicly notified, including notice to affected electors that they have the right by petition to demand a poll, in which electors will vote on the final proposal.
If a poll is held and more than 50% of valid votes oppose the final proposal, it will not proceed. If more than 50% of valid votes support the proposal (or if no poll is called for) the final proposal will be confirmed by way of Order in Council; a transition agency is set up, and a reorganisation scheme prepared.