Local Government (Auckland Council) Act

Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009

The Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 (LGACA) establishes the Auckland Council (Council) as a unitary authority for Auckland.  It contains provisions that relate to a range of matters including: the Council’s structure, functions, duties and powers (which differ from those of other local authorities under the Local Government Act 2002), the arrangements necessary for the management of Auckland’s transport, water supply and wastewater services, the need for the Council to prepare and adopt a spatial plan (“the Auckland Plan") and special provisions which establish arrangement to promote issues of significance to mana whenua.

Importantly the LGACA establishes all of:

  • Council’s local boards - which share decision-making on behalf of the Council, but with a focus on local board areas;
  • Auckland Transport, a council-controlled organisation established for the purpose of contributing to an effective, efficient, and safe Auckland land transport system, which has the functions and powers of a council under Part 21 of the Local Government Act 1974 (LGA 1974);
  • Watercare, a council-controlled organisation established to manage the Auckland water supply and waterwater systems, which has a range of council functions and powers under the LGA 1974 and Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002); and
  • The Independent Māori Statutory Board, a body corporate that is to assist the Council to make decisions, perform functions and exercise powers by promoting cultural, economic, environmental and social issues of significance for mana whenua and mataawaka of Tamaki Makarau.

Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010

The Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 (LGATPA) creates a range of transitional arrangements designed to assist with the amalgamation of the previous local authorities into Auckland Council.  The LGATPA contained transitional provisions relating to Council’s governance, Council-owned property, Council-controlled organisations (including Watercare Services Limited, rating, review and transfer of employment positions and legislative amendments and repeals.

Significantly, Part 4 of the LGATPA established a one-off statutory process for the development of the first combined resource management planning document for Auckland Council, called the “Auckland Unitary Plan”, which is administered under the RMA (“the Unitary Plan”).

The Part 4 process differed from the normal plan making process under Schedule 1 to the RMA in a number of ways, as it was effectively a combination of the Council and Environment Court processes. Figure X generally describes the one-off process:

Figure X:

1. Auckland Council prepares a draft Unitary Plan, which includes a regional policy statement, a regional plan, including regional coastal plan, and a district plan (but excludes the district plan component applying to the Hauraki Gulf Islands).

2. Auckland Council prepares an evaluation report which is audited by the Ministry for the Environment.

3. The proposed Unitary Plan and evaluation report are publicly notified by Auckland Council.

4. Members of the public can make submissions on the proposed Unitary Plan.

5. Auckland Council prepares a summary of submissions.

6.  Certain persons make further submissions.

7. An expert Independent Hearings Panel is established to hold hearings of the submissions made on the proposed Unitary Plan. The Panel was able to convene pre-hearing session meetings, mediation sessions, and/or expert conferencing, as well as hearings. Every person who made a submission may speak and call evidence at a hearing. Cross-examination may be permitted by the Hearings Panel.

8. The Hearings Panel makes recommendations to Auckland Council on the proposed Unitary Plan. The recommendations must be provided to the Council no later than 50 working days before the expiry of 3 years from the date on which Council notified the proposed Unitary Plan, unless an extension is granted by the Minister for the Environment. The Hearings Panel was not limited to making recommendations that were within the scope of submissions made on the proposed Unitary Plan.

9. After being provided with the recommendations, Auckland Council must decide whether to accept or reject each recommendation. The Council must then publicly notify its decision no later than 20 working days after receiving the Hearings Panel recommendations, unless an extension is granted by the Minister for the Environment.

10. Certain limited right of appeal to the Environment Court are available in relation to the Council’s decisions, including where the Council rejected a recommendation or accepted an out of scope recommendation. A right of appeal to the High Court on a question of law was also available.

* The proposed Unitary Plan was not able to be varied after public notification, except in the case of specific exceptions (where the Hearings Panel is satisfied that the variation is required to give effect to a provision in the NZCPS, a NPS, or the RPS, or to correct a substantial error).

Last updated at 2:35PM on November 17, 2017