Media release

Statement on Department of Internal Affairs interest in ORC

Friday 11 December 2020

The following is a media statement attributable to Otago Regional Council Chair Andrew Noone:

As briefly noted in a recent Stuff news article, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) took an interest in the Otago Regional Council (ORC) earlier this year, however this interest has not extended beyond informal conversations. The interest was particularly around leadership, governance and decision making by ORC Councillors.

The DIA’s concern arose at a time when ORC was going through a change in Chair, and there was considerable division at the Council table about how to meet our responsibilities for managing freshwater, in particular, the recommendations of Minister for the Environment Hon. David Parker.

We acknowledge having been through a tumultuous period, and I can say with confidence that we are now operating as a much more unified team of Councillors. I wrote to Minister of Local Government Hon. Nanaia Mahuta recently to outline the actions taken to enhance our governance and decision-making through professional development, and to assist with her confidence in ORC.

We have invited Minister Mahuta, to meet with our Council to demonstrate first-hand the work we have progress this year, and look forward to that opportunity should she agree.