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Questions and Answers

What is  a Royal Commission of Inquiry and what is its statutory basis?

Royal Commissions of Inquiry are established to inquire into matters of major public importance that are of concern to the Government of the day. Royal Commissions are politically neutral and independent of Government, and operate under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. In particular, Royal Commissions must act strictly within their terms of reference and ensure their processes are within the law.

Who sets the terms of reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry?

The terms of reference for Royal Commissions of Inquiry are set by the Government and formalised by Order in Council, signed by the Governor-General.

When was the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance established?

The Royal Commission of Inquiry was established by an order signed by the Governor-General on 29 October 2007.

Why was the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance established?

The Government considered that it was appropriate to establish the Royal Commission at this time, as it provides the opportunity for a broad and independent assessment of what is needed to achieve Auckland’s potential to be a truly internationally competitive city to live, work and do business.  There has also been long-standing and widespread concern that the present structure of local government has created a fractured system of planning and policies, because the different councils and organisations cannot agree about decisions or funding needed to achieve regional goals.  However there are many different suggestions for solutions.  The Royal Commission is a way for an independent, politically neutral body to consider all the possibilities, difficulties, and interests, and come up with a series of informed recommendations.  

What does governance mean?

Governance means the process and structure of government.  In this context, it means both the system of local government - councils, the regionals council, community boards, central government and other agencies - and the process of government, how they interact.

How does the work of the Royal Commission relate to other work being completed on Auckland governance?

While the Royal Commission is conducting its inquiry this year, the Government will continue to support the new Auckland governance arrangements and the One Plan for Auckland.

It is expected that the Royal Commission of Inquiry and the collaborative development of the One Plan for Auckland will complement each other and maintain momentum towards achieving the goal of stronger governance for Auckland. Each will play a significant role in ensuring Auckland’s future as a vibrant, internationally competitive place in which to live, work and do business.

What is the Royal Commission set up to do?

The terms of reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance are set out in full in the 29 October 2007 order. In summary, the terms of reference direct the Commissioners to inquire into and report upon the local government arrangements (including institutions, mechanisms and processes) that are required in the Auckland region over the foreseeable future in order to maximise, in a cost effective manner:

How can members of the public become involved in the work of the Commission?

The terms of reference require the Commissioners, in carrying out their inquiry, to consult with the public in a way that allows people to express clearly their views on issues related to local government arrangements for the Auckland region. In addition, Commissioners must adopt procedures that will encourage people to express their views and must consult and engage with Mâori in a manner that specifically provides for their needs.

The Commission is calling for submissions from the public, and any individual or organisation is welcome to make a submission within the Terms of Reference. Anyone who makes a submission can also request to participate in the hearings to be held by the Commission.

Who are the Commissioners?

Honourable Peter Salmon, QC, is the Chair of the Royal Commission. Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand are the Commissioners.

Honourable Peter Salmon QC is a retired High Court Judge with a wealth of experience in environmental and resource management law. Hon Peter Salmon is a founding member, as well as the first President, of the Resource Management Law Association and practises as an arbitrator and mediator and in other areas of dispute resolution. In 2004 Hon Peter Salmon was appointed to the United Nations Panel of Arbitrators.

Dame Margaret Bazley has extensive experience in the public service, including being a former Secretary of Transport, former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Policy and Director-General of Social Welfare. Dame Margaret was appointed Chairperson of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission in 1999 and has recently served as the Commissioner on the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct. Dame Margaret is also on the Waitangi Tribunal.

David Shand has vast international finance experience, working for both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and he has worked with the OECD on public sector reform issues. Mr Shand has held a number of senior positions in state and federal government in Australia. Mr Shand chaired the recently completed Local Government Rates Inquiry. (See more about the Commissioners)

When is the Royal Commission due to report?

The Royal Commission is required to submit its report by 1 December 2008.

How can I make a submission?

There are two basic ways to make a submission: online, through this website, or through the mail.  For further details, go to Making a Submission.

Does my name have to be published, or can I make a submission on a confidential basis?

The Commission wishes to ensure that its processes are as transparent as possible.  Accordingly, the content of all submissions and the names of submitters will be published on the Commission's website, unless there are good reasons to withhold them. However, we also wish to ensure that potential submitters do not feel constrained from making submissions to the Commission for any reason.

If you have good grounds for believing that some or all of your submission should not be published on our website (e.g. it contains material which is commercially sensitive), please contact us to discuss this, as we may be able to accommodate your request (Ph 09 365 2748).

Similarly, please contact us if you would like to make a submission and you have good grounds for believing that your name should not be published on our website along with your submission (e.g. you work for an organisation to which your submission relates).

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