Councillors want collaboration clarified

Otago regional councillors have continued calls for more oversight in the work being done by Dunedin’s two councils in South Dunedin.

Regional councillors this week asked council staff to clarify the current arrangement between the councils, and to work on a possible memorandum of understanding with the Dunedin City Council, as the organisations worked together to respond to environmental issues facing South Dunedin.

Cr Bryan Scott said councillors remained in a grey area when it came to understanding their role.

"I think the reality is we’re not getting governance collaboration on South Dunedin," he said.

"We’re getting staff collaboration."

In December last year, councillors called for a joint governance structure similar to a transport partnership in place in Queenstown between the regional council, the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the NZ Transport Agency.

At the time, council chairman Andrew Noone said it was logical for the governance arms of both councils to have oversight on a work programme with shared objectives, scope and resources.

At this week’s council meeting, his report to councillors noted the appointment of the city council’s South Dunedin Future programme manager, co-funded by the regional council.

Their first substantive task was to complete a "current snapshot" of the South Dunedin programme, including canvassing understanding across both councils of the vision, problem definition, outcomes and objectives, and work under way.

"It was felt [the programme manager] could from time to time provide updates to inform governance about what future work programmes looked like, with draft budgets for 2022-23 starting to be worked on now," he said.

"We could expect some information before the end of the year."

Cr Michael Laws said based on Mr Noone’s report it appeared there was no role for regional councillors "other than being informed from time to time".

"And that just seems bizarre to me," Cr Laws said.

"I think we have to as a council determine our policy going forward."

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