ORC opts out of fee for scheme

Stephen Woodhead
Stephen Woodhead.
The Otago Regional Council will not pay a fee of about $8000 which Local Government New Zealand is trying to levy on all its council members, even if they opt out of a national ''excellence'' programme.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead told regional councillors at a meeting yesterday that ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker had played a significant role in helping develop LGNZ's national ''excellence'' programme.

Under the programme, individual councils wishing to participate pay a substantial sum, perhaps about $60,000, to undergo an extensive audit of how well  their processes operate, including, apparently, their ability to reach goals.

Mr Bodeker explained that audited councils also later received a detailed report on the audit findings, and well-qualified people were undertaking the work.

The council heard that any council wishing to participate would have to pay not only about $8000 for the fee but would also have to pay the further sum of about $60,000. During his chairman's report to council, Mr Woodhead said the ORC had not proceeded as ''one of the inaugural members'' of the excellence programme.

LGNZ had put in place a fee ''above annual subscription'' for all councils, regardless of whether they were participating in the scheme.

The council should decide if it wished to pay this fee or not, he said.

The council also heard that participation in the scheme had always been voluntary and suggestions of a sizeable fee for all council members had come ''as a surprise''.

Councillors decided against paying the fee.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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