Council agrees to new committee structure

23/10/2020 7:22am

At its meeting on Thursday, 22 October Nelson City Council voted to support a new governance structure.

This streamlines the number of governing committees from five to three, enabling a more responsive structure for COVID-19 recovery and housing affordability issues. 

Housing is a critical issue for Nelson which is consistently in the top three least affordable housing markets in the country and is experiencing record growth in waiting lists for social housing.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese welcomes the new structure.

“From 16 November there will be three governing committees in an effort to reduce duplication of reporting, and to free up time for councillors and staff to engage with central government, iwi, other councils, private sector, NGOs and citizen groups. Continuing with committees of the whole (all elected members) ensures that all councillors have a voice around the Council and input on setting strategy, priorities and direction.”

The three governing committees will be Infrastructure chaired by Councillor Brian McGurk, the renamed Environment and Climate Committee chaired by Councillor Kate Fulton and a new Community and Recreation Committee chair by Councillor Tim Skinner.

Nelson City Council Chief Executive Pat Dougherty says the reduction in the number of committees would help staff.

“Staff support for the work of standing committees is one of the big drivers in Council for workload so going from five committees to three will assist staff, especially the Group Manager for Community Services who was reporting to two different committee chairs.”

The Audit and Risk Sub-Committee will be renamed the Audit, Risk and Finance Subcommittee and report directly to Council ensuring a direct link for health and safety and organisational risks.  Responding to the financial impacts of COVID-19, the Audit and Risk Subcommittee had assumed oversight of Council’s finances and this will continue.

Two new subcommittees will recognise this Council’s priority focus on housing, and strategic city centre and property matters - the Urban Development Subcommittee, chaired by Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar, and the Strategic Development and Property Subcommittee, chaired by Councillor Gaile Noonan.

The Urban Development subcommittee, chaired by Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar, will focus on social housing opportunities, housing affordability, intensification and choice as well as working closely with Tasman District Council on key actions that impact on the region’s development. 

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says the Subcommittee is designed to provide a proactive and collaborative approach to address one of our most pressing needs.

The Strategic Development and Property Subcommittee, chaired by Councillor Gaile Noonan, will review and drive action and outcomes on some of Council’s strategic assets such as the marina, campgrounds and Haven Precinct.

“A subcommittee of Council that has a singular focus of ensuring that we are getting the best out of our property and assets, particularly those that can support economic development and jobs, is critical to the economic stimulus we need in the region,” Reese says.

A new City Centre Engagement Group, chaired by Councillor Mel Courtney, will report to the Urban Development Subcommittee.