Government-appointed commissioners will today formally take over the duties of elected councillors for the Kaipara District Council.
Last week, Local Government Minister David Carter appointed former National MP John Robertson (chairman), Titoki farmer and former Fonterra director Richard Booth, former Manakau City Council chief executive Colin Dale, and former Auckland Regional Council and Local Government New Zealand chief executive Peter Winder to help Kaipara resolve its $80 million debt and "serious" governance issues.
On Monday, Mr Robertson met executive staff at the council. A Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson said the Cabinet-approved terms of reference, which will define the commissioners' public reporting and consultation obligations, are to be gazetted today.
One of the first issues confronting the commissioners could be a signalled rate strike by members of two ratepayers' groups still concerned about the rating legalities. Both groups are looking for affirmation from the commissioners their concerns are being taken seriously.
Last week, the council adopted its amended Long Term Plan and passed a resolution to enable its rates to be struck for the 2012/13 year. It confirmed the interim rates set on August 13 for next instalment due on September 10, with the remaining 2012/13 rates (less the interim instalment) to be divided equally into five two-month instalments. The council agreed that due to the length of time it had taken to address rating irregularities it would waive additional penalties for outstanding rates from previous financial years .
A council spokesperson said staff will be in a position to strike the rates towards the end of next week and, shortly after this, ratepayers will be able to view their rates for 2012/13 on the council's website.