Governance Statement

Approved at a meeting of the Southland District Council held on 29 January 2014


A requirement exists under Section 40 of the Local Government Act 2002 for the Southland District Council to prepare and make publicly available a local governance statement. 

This document contains information about the governance arrangements of the Council to enable the public to participate fully in local governance.

A local governance statement is to be prepared and made publicly available within six months after each triennial general election of the Council and the statement can be updated from time to time by the Council as necessary.

Council Functions, Responsibilities & Activities

The purpose of the Southland District Council as set out on section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002 is:

  •  To enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
  • To meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.

To give effect to that stated purpose the Council has overall responsibility and accountability in a variety of roles including –

  • Planning the District’s strategic direction alongside local communities within the District as part of developing the Long Term Plan (LTP) to take a sustainable development approach and promote community wellbeing.
  • Facilitating solutions to local issues and needs.
  • Advocacy on behalf of the local community with central government, other local authorities and other agencies.
  • Providing prudent stewardship and the efficient and effective use of resources within the District in a sustainable way.
  • Risk management.
  • Management of local infrastructure including network infrastructure (eg roads, sewage disposal, water, stormwater) and community infrastructure (eg libraries, reserves and recreational facilities).
  • Administering various legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Ensuring the integrity of management control systems.
  • Informing and reporting to communities, ratepayers and residents.

Council is guided by its vision: “To have thriving, healthy Southland communities”. It also has a mission of “Working together for a better Southland”.  These are underpinned by a guiding principle of “People First” and supported by three Council outcomes, which are:

  • Supporting our communities. We want Southland’s communities to be desirable places to live, grow up, run a business, raise a family and enjoy a safe and satisfying life.
  • Making the most of our resources. We want to be good custodians of the environment to ensure that people living here now and in the future can sustain themselves and that the natural beauty of Southland is retained.
  • Being an effective Council. We will be prudent, innovative and be an enabler for our communities.

Legislation Relevant to Council

The Southland District Council exercises powers and fulfils responsibilities conferred upon it by various statutes.  Important among these are the Local Government Acts of 1974 and 2002, the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, the Resource Management Act 1991, the Building Act 1991, the Building Act 2004, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 and the Local Electoral Act 2001.  Other legislation which confers powers, obligations or responsibilities on the Southland District Council and otherwise regulates the functions and operations of the Council includes:

Airport Authorities Act 1966
Animals Welfare Act 1999
Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 1994
Auctioneers Act 1928
Bill of Rights Act 1990
Biosecurity Act 1993
Building Act 2004
Building Research Levy Act 1969
Burial and Cremation Act 1964
Bylaws Act 1910
Cadastral Survey Act 2002
Citizenship Act 1977
Civil Aviation Act 1990
Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002
Civil List Act 1979
Climate Change Response Act 2002
Commerce Act 1986
Companies Act 1993
Conservation Act 1987
Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
Copyright Act 1994
Counties Insurance Empowering Act 1941
Crimes Act 1961
Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975
District Courts Act 1947
Dog Control Act 1996
Earthquake Commissions Act 1993
Electricity Act 1992
Employment Relations Act 2000
Energy Companies Act 1992
Environment Act 1986
Fair Trading Act 1986
Fees & Travelling Allowances Act 1951
Fencing Act 1978
Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987
Finance Act (No. 2) 1941
Financial Reporting Act 1993
Fire Services Act 1975
Food Act 1981
Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004
Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
Gambling Act 2003
Gas Act 1992
Goods & Services Tax Act 1985
Hazardous Substances & New Organisms Act 1996
Health Act 1956
Health & Safety in Employment Act 1992
Historic Places Act 1993
Holidays Act 2003
Housing Act 1955
Housing Corporation Act 1974
Human Rights Act 1993
Impounding Act 1955
Income Tax Act 2007
Insolvency Act 2006
Interpretation Act 1999
Land Act 1948
Land Drainage Act 1908
Land Transfer Act 1952
Land Transport Act 1998
Libraries & Mechanics’ Institute Act 1908
Limitation Act 2010
Litter Act 1979
Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968
Machinery Act 1950
Minimum Wage Act 1983
Municipal Insurance Act 1960
National Provident Fund Restructuring Act 1990
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
New Zealand Geographic Board Act 2004 (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa)
New Zealand Library Association Act 1939
New Zealand Public Health & Disability Act 2000
Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998
Oaths & Declarations Act 1957
Occupiers Liability Act 1962
Ombudsmen Act 1975
Parental Leave & Protection Act 1987
Plumbers& Gasfitters & Drainlayers Act 2006
Privacy Act 1993
Property Law Act 2007
Prostitution Reform Act 2003
Protected Disclosures Act 2000
Public Bodies Contracts Act 1959
Public Bodies Leases Act 1969
Public Works Act 1981
Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act 1977
Railway Safety & Corridor Management Act 1992
Rating Valuations Act 1998
Rates Rebate Act 1973
Reserves Act 1977
Residential Tenancies Act 1986
Resource Management Act 1991
Sale of Liquor Act 1989
Secondhand Dealers & Pawnbrokers Act 2004
Secret Commissions Act 1910
Securities Act 1978
Securities Transfer Act 1991
Smoke-free Environments Act 1990
Soil; Conservation & Rivers Control Act 1941
Sovereign’s Birthday Observance Act 1952
Standards Act 1988
Statutes Amendment Acts 1936-1951
Statutory Land Charges Registration Act 1928
Summary Offences Act 1981
Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
Telecommunications Act 2001
Transit New Zealand Act 1989
Transport Act 1962
Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975
Trespass Act 1980
Trustees Act 1956
Unit Titles Act 1972
Walking Access Act 2008
Wild Animal Control Act 1977
Wildlife Act 1953
Trespass Act 1980
Trustees Act 1956
Unit Titles Act 1972

Local Legislation

In addition to the statutes referred to above, the Southland District Council is also bound by local legislation that applies specifically to it. In some cases the former local authorities no longer exist but the Local Acts continue to apply to Southland District Council as successor. These Acts are:

Local Acts

Southland Land Drainage Act 1935

Authorised by the former Wallace and Southland Counties and by succession the Southland District Council to make better provision for land drainage within the District.

Southland District Council (Stewart Island/Rakiura Visitor Levy) Empowering Act 2012

Provides a mechanism for the Council to set and collect levies and obtain revenue from passengers travelling to Stewart Island/Rakiura, in order to better provide services, facilities, and amenities for those persons while they are on the island.

Private Acts

Otago-Southland Flood Relief Committee Empowering Act 1980

Provides for the administration of funds held in trust for the relief of persons suffering loss or damage from floods in Otago and Southland in 1980.


The following bylaws have been made by the Council and apply within the district:

  • Control of Advertising Signs Bylaw 2008
  • Roading Bylaw 2008
  • Stormwater Drainage Bylaw 2008
  • Trade Waste Bylaw 2008
  • Wastewater Drainage Bylaw 2008
  • Camping Control Bylaw 2007
  • Southland District Council Dog Control Bylaw 2009
  • Southland District Council Fire Prevention (Vegetation) Bylaw 2010
  • Southland District Council Keeping of Animals, Poultry and Bees Bylaw 2005
  • Southland District Council Public Places Liquor Control Bylaw 2005
  • Water Supply Bylaw 2008
  • Speed Limit Bylaw 2005
  • Speed Limit Bylaw 2005, Amendment No. 1
  • Speed Limit Bylaw 2005, Amendment No. 2
  • Public Places Liquor Control Bylaw
  • Keeping of Animals, Poultry & Bees Bylaw 2010
  • Fire Prevention (Vegetation) Bylaw 2010
  • Dog Control Bylaw 2010
  • Solid Waste Bylaw 2008
  • Camping Control Bylaw 2012
  • Trading in Public Places Bylaw 2008
  • Subdivision & Land Development Standards Bylaw 2012
  • Southland District Council Stewart Island/Rakiura Visitor Levy Bylaw 2012

The Electoral System & the Opportunity to Change it


First Past the Post (FPP)

Elections of the Southland District Council are currently conducted using the First Past the Post electoral system. Under this system electors vote for their preferred candidate(s), and those receiving the most votes, win.

Single Transferable Vote (STV)

The other option available under the Local Electoral Act 2001 is the Single Transferable Vote electoral system (STV). This system is used in District Health Board (DHB) elections.

Electors rank candidates in order of preference eg Jim Brown 1, Jeff Smith 2, Bill Jones 3 and so on. The number of votes required for a candidate to be elected (called the quota) depends on the number of positions to be filled and the number of valid votes.

The number of candidates required to fill all vacancies is achieved:

  • First by the counting of first preferences
  • Then by a transfer of a proportion of votes received by any candidate where the number of votes for that candidate is in excess of the quota
  • Then by the exclusion of the lowest polling candidate and the transfer of these votes in accordance with the voters second preferences

Changing Electoral Systems

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 there are three ways in which the Council’s electoral system can be changed. They are:

  • Council can resolve to change the electoral system to be used at the next two elections; or
  • Council can conduct a binding poll of electors; or
  • Electors can demand that a binding poll be undertaken. That demand requires 5% or more of the electors to sign a petition demanding that a poll be held

Once changed, an electoral system must be used for at least the next two triennial Council elections.

Representation Arrangements

Mayoral Office

A mayor is elected at large within the district by all electors.


The Southland District is divided into five wards. 

- Mararoa Waimea Ward (3 councillors)
- Waiau Aparima (3 councillors)
- Winton Wallacetown (3 councillors)
- Waihopai Toetoes (2 councillors)
- Stewart Island/Rakiura (1 councillor)

The ward representation structure of the Council recognises the need to provide fair and effective representation of communities of interest within the District, while meeting legislative requirements. 

A map identifying each ward can be found here [JPG, 811 KB]

Community Boards

The Southland District Council has eight community boards. They are:

- Edendale-Wyndham Community Board
- Otautau Community Board
- Stewart Island/Rakiura Community Board
- Riverton/Aparima Community Board
- Te Anau Community Board
- Tuatapere Community Board
- Wallacetown Community Board
- Winton Community Board

All eight Community Boards are comprised of six members elected by the community plus one Councillor appointed by the Council. 

In terms of Section 52 of the LGA 2002 these Community Boards:

  • Represent and act as an advocate for the interests of their community
  • Consider and report on any matter referred to it by the Council and any issues of interest or concern to the Community Board
  • Make an annual submission to the Council on expenditure in the community
  • Maintain an overview of services provided by the Council within the community
  • Communicate with community organisations and special interest groups in the community
  • Undertake any other responsibilities delegated by the Council

The Council has a policy of decentralising responsibilities as necessary to provide an effective means of ensuring local input into decision-making.  An extensive range of delegated powers given to the Community Boards within the District by the Council allows for and encourages decision-making at the local level.

Each Community Board elects its own chairperson at its first meeting after the triennial election.

The Council reviewed the Community Board representation arrangements in 2012.  The process and requirements for the constitution of any new community board within the District is prescribed in Schedule 6 to the Local Government Act 2002.

Community Development Area Subcommittees (CDAs)

Throughout the District 19 Community Development Areas have been identified and established.  The purpose of CDAs is to further encourage local input in addressing the needs of local communities and assessing priorities. Community Development Area Subcommittees have been established at:

  • Athol
  • Dipton                      
  • Mossburn                   
  • Thornbury               
  • Balfour
  • Garston
  • Nightcaps
  • Tokanui
  • Browns
  • Gorge Road
  • Ohai
  • Waikaia
  • Lime Hills Centre Bush
  • Lumsden
  • Orepuki
  • Woodlands
  • Colac Bay
  • Manapouri
  • Riversdale






Māori Wards

The Local Electoral Act 2001 also gives the Council the ability to establish separate Wards for Māori electors.  The Council may resolve to create separate Māori Wards or conduct a poll on the matter or the community may demand a poll. The demand for a poll can be initiated by a petition signed by 5% of electors within the District. 

Changing Representation Arrangements

The Council is required to review its representation arrangements at least once every six years. This review must include the following:

  • The number of elected members (within the legal requirement to have a minimum of six and a maximum of 30 members, including the Mayor)
  • Whether the elected members (other than the Mayor) shall be elected by the entire District; or whether the District will be divided into wards for electoral purposes; or whether there will be a mix of ‘at large’ and ‘ward’ representation
  • If election by wards is preferred, then the boundaries and names of those wards and the number of members that will represent each ward
  • Whether or not to have separate wards for electors on the Māori roll
  • Whether to have community boards and if so how many, their boundaries and membership and whether to subdivide a community for electoral purposes

The Council must follow the procedure set out in the Local Electoral Act 2001 when conducting this review, and should also follow guidelines published by the Local Government Commission. The Act gives you the right to make a written submission to Council, and the right to be heard if you wish.

You also have the right to appeal any decisions on the above to the Local Government Commission which will make a binding decision on the appeal. Further details on the matters that the Council must consider in reviewing its membership and basis of election can be found in the Local Electoral Act 2001.

The Council reviewed its representation in 2012.  The next review will be in 2018.

The Reorganisation Process

The Local Government Act 2002 sets out procedures which must be followed during proposals to:

  • Make changes to the boundaries of the district
  • Create a new district
  • Create a unitary authority, a territorial authority which also has the responsibilities, duties and powers of a regional council
  • Transfer a particular function or functions to another council

A reorganisation application to the Local Government Commission may be made by any person, body or group, including the local authority or the Minister of Local Government.  Before supporting a reorganisation application, the Local Government Commission must be satisfied that there is demonstrable community support in the district of each affected territorial authority.  The Commission also has to be satisfied that the reorganisation will promote good local government.  Where, by petition, 10% or more of affected electors with the district request a poll of electors, the poll may determine the final outcome.

Further information on these requirements can be found in the Local Government Act 2002 (in particular Schedule 3).  The Local Government Commission has also prepared guidelines on procedures for local government reorganisation.

Elected Members & Chief Executive

The Mayor and Councillors of the Southland District Council have the following roles:

  • Setting the policy direction of the Council
  • Monitoring the performance of the Council
  • Give effect to the purpose of the Local Government Act 2002 which is: (a) to enable democratic local decision making and action by, and on behalf of, communities, and (b) to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses
  • Representing the interests of the District (on election all members must make a declaration that they will perform their duties faithfully and impartially, and according to their best skill and judgement in the best interests of the District)
  • Employing the Chief Executive (under the Local Government Act the local authority employs the Chief Executive, who in turn employs all other staff on its behalf)


The Mayor is elected by the District as a whole and as one of the elected members shares the same responsibilities as other members of the Council. In addition the Mayor has the following roles:

  • Ensuring the Council is effective in its governance role and provision of leadership and vision to the whole organisation
  • Presiding member at Council meetings. The mayor is responsible for ensuring the orderly conduct of business during meetings (as determined in the Standing Orders)
  • Advocate on behalf of the community. This role may involve promoting the community and representing its interests. Such advocacy will be most effective where it is carried out with the knowledge and support of the Council
  • Ceremonial head of the Council
  • Providing leadership and feedback to other elected members on teamwork and chairing committees

Deputy Mayor

The Deputy Mayor is chosen by the Mayor. The Deputy Mayor exercises the same roles as other elected members. In addition, if the Mayor is absent or incapacitated, or if the office of Mayor is vacant, then the Deputy Mayor must perform all of the responsibilities and duties, and may exercise the powers of the Mayor (as summarised above). The Deputy Mayor may be removed from office by resolution of the Council.

Chief Executive

The Chief Executive is appointed by the Council in accordance with Section 42 and Clauses 33 and 34 of Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002. The Chief Executive implements and manages the Council’s policies and objectives within the budgetary constraints established by the Council. Under Section 42 of the Local Government Act 2002, the responsibilities of the Chief Executive are:

  • Implementing the decisions of the Council
  • Providing advice to the Council and community boards
  • Ensuring that all responsibilities, duties and powers delegated to the Chief Executive or to any person employed by the Chief Executive, or imposed or conferred by any act, regulation or bylaw are properly performed or exercised
  • Managing the activities of the Council effectively and efficiently
  • Maintaining systems to enable effective planning and accurate reporting of the financial and service performance of the Council
  • Providing leadership for the staff of the Council
  • Employing staff (including negotiation of the terms of employment for the staff)

Elected Members

Elected members have specific obligations as to their conduct in the following legislation:

  • Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002, which includes obligations to act as a good employer and to abide by the current Code of Conduct and Standing Orders
  • The Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 which regulates the conduct of elected members in situations where there is, or could be, a conflict of interest between their duties as an elected member and their financial interests (either direct or indirect)
  • The Secret Commissions Act 1910, which prohibits elected members from accepting gifts or rewards which could be seen to sway them to perform their duties in a particular way
  • The Crimes Act 1961 regarding the acceptance of gifts for acting in a certain way and the use of official information for private profit
  • The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 is of importance for the roles and conduct of elected members where a Chair has the responsibility to maintain order at meetings.  All elected members should accept a personal responsibility to maintain acceptable standards of address and debate

Code of Conduct

All elected members are required to adhere to a Code of Conduct. Adopting such a Code is a requirement of the Local Government Act 2002. The Council adopted its first Code in August 2003. Once adopted, the Code may only be amended by a 75% or more vote of the Council. The Code sets out the Council’s understanding and expectations of how the Mayor and Councillors will relate to one another, to staff, to the media and to the general public in the course of their duties. It also covers disclosure of information that is received by or is in the possession of elected members, and contains details of the sanctions that the Council may impose if an individual breaches the code.

The current Code of Conduct was passed by Council on 30 October 2013

Governance, Membership & Delegations

The Council

The Southland District Council has 12 Councillors elected by five wards and a mayor who is elected by the District at large.


Gary Tong
0800 732 732
027 465 5182

Deputy Mayor

Cr Paul Duffy
03 246 8559, 027 288 5865


Mararoa Waimea Ward: Cr John Douglas
(03) 248 6110, 027 493 0633
fax (03) 248 6110

Mararoa Waimea Ward: Cr Ebel Kremer
03 249 8255, 027 510 7785

Mararoa Waimea Ward: Cr Brian Dillon
(03) 201 6166, 027 457 8186
fax (03) 201 6168

Waiau Aparima Ward: Cr George Harpur
(03) 226 6040, 027 652 6728
fax (03) 226 6037

Waiau Aparima Ward: Cr Stuart Baird
(03) 225 8372, 027 650 9721

Waiau Aparima Ward: Cr Rodney Dobson
(03) 224 6135, 027 288 6737
fax (03) 224 6134

Waihopai Toetoes Ward: Cr Julie Keast
(03) 246 8410, 027 220 6404

Waihopai Toetoes Ward: Cr Paul Duffy
03 246 8559, 027 288 5865

Stewart Island/Rakiura: Cr Bruce Ford
(03) 219 1282, 027 231 7815

Winton Wallacetown Ward: Cr Gavin Macpherson
(03) 235 2789, 021 121 1655
(03) 235 2789 (wk)

Winton Wallacetown Ward: Cr Lyall Bailey
(03) 236 0960, 027 437 5362
fax (03) 236 0965

Winton Wallacetown Ward: Cr Neil Paterson
(03) 236 1343, 021 554 737
fax (03) 236 1343

 The council is responsible for:

  • Developing and approving council policy
  • Determining the expenditure and funding requirements of the council through the planning process
  • Monitoring the performance of the Council against its stated objectives and policies
  • Employing, overseeing and monitoring the chief executive’s performance

Council Committees

A number of Committees have been established by the council to assist with the conduct of the business of the council. A committee chairperson is responsible for presiding over meetings of the committee and ensuring that the committee acts within the delegated jurisdiction conferred by the council and set out in the council’s policy manual.

Southland District Activities Performance Audit Committee

Chairperson - Cr Lyall Bailey
All Councillors

The purpose of the Activities Performance Audit Committee is:

  • To oversee the performance of the Council’s activities both in non-financial and financial terms. 
  • To take on the role of Audit Committee, to assure contractors in terms of risk management and compliance to effectively fulfil their fiduciary and statutory responsibilities.

Southland District Council Policy Review Committee

Chairperson - Cr Rodney Dobson
All Councillors

  • Responsible for reviewing existing council policy and initiating new council policy; reviewing and commenting on proposed legislation, Asset Management Plans and Long Term Plans. Also delegated responsibility to overview the contract of service with outside organisations such as Venture Southland, Emergency Management Southland and the Southern Rural Fire Authority.

Southland District Allocations Committee

Chairperson - Cr John Douglas
Cr Lyall Bailey, Cr Rodney Dobson, Cr Bruce Ford, Cr George Harpur & Cr Julie Keast

  • Responsible for approving grants or loans within the policy guidelines from Council funds and also for approving scholarships and bursaries with the Scholarship and Bursaries Subcommittee.

Southland District Executive Committee

Chairperson - Mayor Gary Tong
Cr Lyall Bailey, Cr Brian Dillon, Cr Rodney Dobson, Cr Paul Duffy & Cr Gavin Macpherson


  • Reviewing the performance of the chief executive and recommending remuneration levels
  • To review of any indiscretions by councillors under the Southland District Council Code of Conduct
  • To deal with matters of an emergency nature that cannot wait until the next council meeting

Southland District Forestry Committee

Chairperson - Cr Brian Dillon
Cr Stuart Baird, Cr George Harpur & Cr Neil Paterson

  • Responsible for overseeing the operations of the Forestry Business Unit in relation to the council’s forest estate and making recommendations to council regarding dividends.

Southland District Resource Management Committee

Chairperson - Cr Paul Duffy
Cr Lyall Bailey, Cr Rodney Dobson, Cr John Douglas, Cr Julie Keast & Cr Gavin Macpherson

  • Responsible for overseeing the role of the council under the Resource Management Act 1991, including deliberation on matters that are publicly notified and where a hearing is required but excludes the approval of plan changes or new plans.

Ohai Railway Fund Committee

Chairperson: Sue Adams
Ward representative: Cr Stuart Baird
Council representatives: Cr Rodney Dobson & Cr George Harpur
Community appointees: Bruce Allan, Ivan Smith & Donna Booth

  • Responsible for making all grants or loans or both from the Ohai Railway Fund for the benefit of the residents of the district of the former board or to any resident of the district of the former board.

Riverton Harbour Committee

Chairperson - Nick White
Cr Rodney Dobson (as ward member), Muriel Johnstone (iwi), plus two members of the Riverton Community Board (any two of the following - Blair Stewart, Tim Anderson or Neil Linscott), two representatives of the Riverton Fishermen’s Association (Nick White & Ian Coard), Kevin O'Sullivan (Environment Southland) (Harbour Master as alternative)

  • Responsible for the overall management and control of the Riverton Harbour and associated assets

Stewart Island Jetties Committee

Chairperson - Cr Bruce Ford
Mr C Hopkins (Stewart Island Fishermens' Assn), Mr K Swinney (Environment Southland), Mr A Conner, Mr I Munro (Stewart Island Community Board), Mr P Smith (iwi), Mr D Chittenden (DOC).

  • To oversee the development and maintenance of jetties located at Fred's Camp, Millars Beach, Ulva Island, Port William and Little Glory Cove, taking into account Council's goals and objectives and policies.

Stewart Island/Rakiura Visitor Levy Committee

Council appointees:

Chairperson - to be appointed
Cr Bruce Ford

Community appointees:
Stewart Island/Rakiura Community Board Member - to be appointed

Industry appointees: Jason Steele (Real Journeys), Kevin O’Sullivan (Cruise New Zealand), Bill Moffatt (Stewart Island Flights).

  • Responsible for administering the Stewart Island/Rakiura Visitor Levy Fund. Administration includes responsibility for funding decisions and the development of a strategy guide allocation decisions.

Southland District Council International Relations Committee

Chairperson - Cr Bruce Ford
Irene Barnes, Elizabeth Clark, Everill Cocker, Ngarita Dixon, Cr Paul Duffy, Jan Lowery, Bill Moss & Gwen Neave

  • Responsible for the coordination of Sister City activities between Southland District Council and other councils/organisations as established by Council, currently consisting of Wyong Shire Council NSW, Australia (currently on hold) and Cinque Terre, Italy. The council may also, from time to time establish ad hoc committees to consider particular issues.

Joint Committees of the Council

Venture Southland

Mayor Gary Tong, Cr John Douglas, Cr Gavin Macpherson, (Council representatives)

Cr John Douglas to be Mayors appointment to the Directorate

Alternates - Cr Paul Duffy and Cr Bruce Ford

Mr R Campbell and Ms M MacPherson  (Council Appointees)

  • Responsible for the advancement and coordination of activities within the Southland region including, tourism, economic and business development, promotion and marketing of the region, community development and events management.

Shared Services Forum

Mayor Gary Tong, Cr Lyall Bailey and Cr Brian Dillon

  • Responsible for investigating ways for participating local authorities to provide shared services to assist in avoiding duplication and minimising the cost of services.

Emergency Management Group

Mayor Gary Tong
Cr Paul Duffy as Alternate.

  • Purpose of the Group is to identify the hazards and risks to be managed by the group and the Civil Defence Emergency Management measures deemed necessary to manage those hazards and risks.

Southland Lifelines Group 

Subcommittee of the Emergency Management Group

WasteNet (Waste Management Advisory Group)

Cr Neil Paterson, Cr Rodney Dobson

  • WasteNet has been developed to encompass waste management issues in Southland. 

Te Roopu Taiao

Mayor Gary Tong and Cr Paul Duffy (Council representatives).

  • Responsible for serving as a forum for the exchange of views between the tangata whenua and the participating local authorities, for the coordination of consultation between the parties and the development of the capacity of tangata whenua to participate in local authority decision-making.

Southland Regional Heritage Committee

  • The purpose of the Committee is to establish and preserve the regional heritage of Murihiku/Southland. 

The Council has two representatives on the Trust - Cr Paul Duffy, Cr Gavin Macpherson and Cr Lyall Bailey (alternate).  Representation is by a Council appointment.

For more information about the Committee, contact Venture Southland (03) 211 1406.

Other Committees

Water Supply Committees

The Council has constituted seven Water Supply Subcommittees within the District which are each responsible for the overall governance of the respective water supply scheme in accordance with the policies of the Council.  These Subcommittees are:

Eastern Bush/Otahu Flat (three each) Six members plus Ward Councillor
Five Rivers         Six members plus Ward Councillor
Lumsden/Balfour Four members plus two Ward Councillors plus one Lumsden Community Board member and one Balfour Community Board member
Matuku Six members plus Ward Councillor
Te Anau Basin    One member each from Ramparts, Mt York, Takitimu, Kakapo, Homestead, Princhester plus two appointed by Landcorp and the Ward Councillor
Orawia   Four members plus Ward Councillor
Ohai/Nightcaps/Wairio Two representatives from both Ohai and Nightcaps, one representative from Wairio and the Ward Councillor

Village Committee

Monowai Village Committee

  • Meets once a year to set sewerage rate. Open to all ratepayers of Monowai Village to attend.

Council Organisations

Council Organisations (COs) are those organisations in which the Council is involved by itself or with other local authorities and controls any proportion of voting rights or rights to appoint directors etc.

The Council Controlled organisations in which the Council is involved are:

Road Safety Southland Charitable Trust

  • The purpose of the Trust is to promote the education, planning, establishment and facilitating of road safety initiatives and programmes in Southland with appropriate agencies and community interests within the Southland region.

The Council has one representative on the 10 member Trust Board.  Representation is by a Council appointment.

For more information on the Road Safety Southland Charitable Trust contact the Road Safety Southland Coordinator Jane Ballantyne - phone 0800 732 732, 025 512 483 or

Southland Museum & Trust Board

  • The purpose of the Trust Board is to maintain, manage and operate a museum and art gallery.

The Council has two members on a potential eight member Trust Board as permitted by the constitution. Representation is by a Council appointment.
For more information please contact the Director, Southland Museum & Art Gallery, PO Box 1012, Invercargill - phone (03) 218 9753; fax (03) 218 3872;

Southern Rural Fire Authority

  • The Southern Rural Fire Committee has been constituted as a Rural Fire Authority to administer the Southern Rural Fire District for the purposes of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977. 

The Council has two representatives on an eight member Committee.  The Gore District Council and the Invercargill City Council each have one representative on the Committee. For more information contact Mike Grant, Chief Executive, Southern Rural Fire District - 0800 732 732; fax 0800 732 329

Southland District Youth Council

The Youth Council is set up on a District wide basis with two representatives from each secondary school domiciled in the District.

  • The objectives of the Youth Council are to ensure that a youth voice is heard regarding important issues across the District.  The Youth Council also organises activities that contribute to Southland being a great place to live.       

Southland Community Wastebusters Trust

  • The Southland Community Wastebusters Trust was established to administer the trust funds to “encourage the sustainable management of natural and physical resources” by way of education, promotion, monitoring performance and advancing research of initiatives. 

The Council has one representative on the 19 member Trust Board.  Representation is by a Council appointment.
For more information on the Southland Community Wastebusters Trust contact:  Southland District Council, PO Box 903, 15 Forth Street, Invercargill  9840 or 0800 732 732; fax 0800 732 329

Council Controlled Organisations

Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) are those organisations in which the Council is involved by itself or with other local authorities and controls 50% or more of the voting rights or appoints 50% or more of the directors.

The Council Controlled organisations in which the Council is involved are:

Milford Community Trust

  • The purpose of the Milford Community Trust is to manage and carry out services and undertake leadership, planning and advocacy for the general benefit of the Milford Community. 

The Council has one representative on a Board of seven trustees. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact Chris Dolan, Secretary, Milford Community Trust, Te Anau

External Organisations

Discover Fiordland Heritage Trust

(formerly Fiordland Museum Trust)
  • The purpose of the Fiordland Museum Trust is to administer the trust fund for the purpose of establishing a museum at/or in the vicinity of Te Anau, and the development and maintenance of the Fiordland Museum's collection.

Council has one representative on the six member trust board. Representation is by a Council appointment upon the recommendation of the Te Anau Community Board.
For more information on the Fiordland Museum Trust contact the Secretary, Fiordland Museum Trust, PO Box 29, Te Anau

Gore and Districts Community Counselling Centre Inc

  • The purpose of the centre is to provide a community service for the Eastern Southland/West Otago areas involving counselling, psychotherapy, educational programmes, clinical supervision, information and listening service.

The Council has one representative on the executive body. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact: the office administrator, PO Box 157, 17 Traford Street, Gore -or (03) 208 5366; fax (03) 208 5366

Invercargill and Districts Citizens Advice Bureau Inc

  • The purpose of the bureau is to provide a free, confidential, non-judgemental referral and information service.

Council has one representative on a 13 member management committee. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information - contact the co-ordinator, PO Box 1222, Invercargill or (03) 218 6648; fax (03) 218 2714;

Milford Sound Development Authority Ltd

  • The Milford Sound Development Authority Ltd was formed for the purpose of undertaking the significant redevelopment of the tourism facilities and amenities at Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound including ongoing development, management and operation of the tourism facilities and amenities at Milford Sound.

The Council has two directors on a six member Board. Representation is by Council appointment.

For more information contact Milford Sound Development Authority Secretary Roger Wilson: Crowe Howarth, Private Bag 90106, Invercargill or (03) 211 0103; fax (03) 218 3623

Monowai Working Party

  • The purpose of the Monowai Working Party is to monitor and assist with the investigation and management of issues associated with Lake Monowai and the Monowai Hydro Electric Power Scheme.

The Council has two representatives on the Monowai Working Party. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information on contact Chris Dolan, Manager, Area Offices, Southland District Council, PO Box 903, Invercargill

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (Southland Branch)

  • The purpose of the Southland Branch of the Trust is to promote the identification, protection, preservation and conservation of the historical and cultural heritage in Southland.

The Council has one representative on the Committee of the trust. Representation is by a Council appointment.
For more information on the Southland Branch contact Mr M Hesselin, 167 Queens Drive, Invercargill

Ohai/Nightcaps and Districts Doctors House and Surgery Committee

  • The Ohai/Nightcaps and Districts Doctors House and Surgery Committee was established for the purpose of distributing funds from the net proceeds of the sale of the former Nightcaps Doctors house and surgery, for medical purposes.

The Council has one representative on the committee. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information on the committee contact Chris Dolan, Southland District Council, Winton Office, 0800 732 732

Pioneer Women's Memorial Trust (Gore)

  • The purpose of the trust is to provide a military scholarship for students of the Gore District for tertiary education.

The Council has one representative on the trust. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact Susan Jones, Gore District Council, (03) 209 0330

Rakiura Information and Heritage Centre Trust

  • The purpose of the Trust is to establish, operate and maintain an information and heritage centre for providing public information for Stewart Island.

The Council has one representative on the trust. Representation is by Council appointment. For more information contact Venture Southland (03) 211 1400

Regional Community Road Safety Network Group

Formerly the Regional Land Transport Committee

  • The Community Road Safety Network Group was established for the purpose of community liaison.

Council has one representative on the committee. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information on the Group contact Jane Ballantyne, 0800 732 732

Southland Community Broadcaster's Charitable Trust

  • The Southland Community Broadcaster's Charitable Trust assists with the operation of a community based radio station in the Southland region.

Council has one representative on an eight member trust board. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact Radio Southland, PO Box 1, Invercargill, (03) 218 9891; fax (03) 214 1425

Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust

  • The Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust was established for the purpose of planning and raising funds to build a community leisure centre at Surrey Park in Invercargill for use as a sporting, art, cultural and educational venue.

Council has one representative on a nine member trust board. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact the Trust Office, PO Box 208, Invercargill

Southland Heritage Building Preservation Trust

  • The purpose of this trust was to provide a vehicle for funding loans to assist the owners of registered and listed historic buildings throughout Southland with preserving and/or maintaining such building.

The Council has one representative on a board of nine members. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact Jan Brown, Secretary of the Trust at Environment Southland, Private Bag 90116, Invercargill or  phone (03) 215 6197; freephone for Southland residents 0800 768 845;

Southland Medical Foundation Inc

  • The purpose of the foundation is to use its funds to best advantage in encouraging the advancement of medical knowledge and services in Southland.

The Council has one representative on the foundation. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact the secretary, Southland Medical Foundation, PO Box 5083, Waikiwi, Invercargill or (03) 215 7800;

Southland Rural Heritage Trust

  • The purpose of the trust is to bring together a spectrum of rural heritage interests and initiatives and to safeguard and celebrate Southland's rural heritage.

Environment Southland and Southland District Council take turns in providing the representative on the trust. Representation is by Council appointment.
For further information contact Southland Rural Heritage Trust, PO Box 1012, Invercargill or (03) 213 1267

Tuatapere Amenities Trust

  • The Tuatapere Amenities Trust is required to administer the trust fund to mitigate the loss of general amenity values resulting from the reduction in flows of the Waiau River and create, maintain and enhance such amenities that are of benefit and advantage to the Tuatapere community.

Council has one representative on a seven member trust board. Representation is by Council appointment.

For more information contact the secretary, Tuatapere Amenities Trust, C/- McCulloch and Partners, Chartered Accountants, PO Box 844, Invercargill or (03) 218 6179; fax (03) 218 2238;

Waiau River Working Party

  • The purpose of the Waiau River Working Party as a broadly based community group is to facilitate the ongoing management of the Waiau River, consider the effects of hydro-electric power generation on the environment and opportunities of the Waiau River resource for recreational, social, cultural and economic values.

The Council has one representative on the working party. Representation is by Council appointment.
For more information contact Jan Brown at Environment Southland, Private Bag 90116, Invercargill or (03) 215 6197; fax (03) 215 8081;

Meeting Requirements & Processes

The legal requirements for conducting Council, Community Board and Committee meetings are provided for in the Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA).

Scheduled meetings are publicly notified not more than 14 days and not less than five days before the end of each month for the following month.  Where this requirement cannot be satisfied (eg in the case of extraordinary meetings) then the Council shall cause such public notice as is reasonable in the circumstances to be given.  The place, dates and times of meetings are advertised in the Southland Times newspaper circulating within the District. 

All Council, Community Boards and Committee meetings must be open to the public unless there is reason to consider some item ‘in Committee’ (ie these items are considered to be confidential and members of the public will be asked to leave the room until discussion on the item has been completed).  Although meetings are open to the public, members of the public do not have speaking rights unless prior arrangements are made with the Council, Community Board or Committee.

The LGOIMA specifies those circumstances where a Council, Community Board or Committee may consider items with the public excluded.  These circumstances generally relate to protection of personal privacy, professionally privileged or commercially sensitive information, and the maintenance of public health, safety and order.  The Council agenda is a public document, although parts may be withheld if the above circumstances apply.  Minutes of all meetings must be kept as evidence of the proceedings of the meeting.  These must be made publicly available subject to the provisions of the LGOIMA.

During meetings the Mayor, Councillors and Community Board members must follow Standing Orders which are a set of procedures for conducting meetings agreed upon by the Council.  The application of Standing Orders can be suspended at any meeting by a vote of 75% of the members present.  A copy of the Standing Orders can be obtained by contacting the Council.

Consultation Policy

The Local Government Act 2002 establishes certain principles and requirements for consultation as part of the planning, decision-making and accountability role of the Council.

In the course of making any decision the Council is required to:

  • Consider those options available to achieve the objective of a decision by assessing the costs, benefits and impact of those options
  • Consider the views of the community at the various stages of the decision-making process and the views of Māori (especially where land or water are involved)
  • Have regard to the present and future social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of communities
  • Identify the reasons for a decision also for any decision which is inconsistent with any other Council policies or plans

Special Consultative Procedure

When making certain types of decision the Local Government Act 2002 requires the Council to use the ‘special consultative procedure’. The special consultative procedure is regarded as a minimum process that the Council must use when making certain decisions under the Local Government Act 2002 or addressed in the Council’s Policy on Significance.  The purpose of the Policy on Significance is to ensure that communities within the Southland District are fully consulted and encouraged to participate in the consideration of issues, proposals or decisions deemed to be significant and/or involve dealing with the strategic assets of the Council.

The special consultative procedure comprises the following steps:

  • STEP ONE:  Preparation of a statement of proposal and a summary.  The Council must prepare a description of the proposed decision or course of action.  The statement must be available for distribution throughout the community and must be available for inspection at the Council office and may be made available elsewhere.  The Council also has to prepare a full and fair summary of the proposal which must be distributed as widely as the Council considers to be reasonably practicable.  That statement must be included on an agenda for a Council meeting.

  • STEP TWO:  Public notice.  The Council must publish a notice in one or more daily newspapers, or in other newspapers of equivalent circulation, of the proposal and of the consultation being undertaken.

  • STEP THREE:  Receive submissions.  The Council must acknowledge all written submissions and offer submitters a reasonable opportunity to make an oral submission.  The Council must allow at least one month (from the date of the notice) for submissions.

  • STEP FOUR:  Deliberate in public.  All meetings where the Council deliberates on the proposal or hears submissions must be open to the public (unless there is some reason to exclude the public under the LGOIMA).  All submissions must be made available unless there is reason to withhold them under LGOIMA.

  • STEP FIVE:  Follow up.  A copy of the decision and a summary of the reasons must be provided to submitters.  There is no prescribed format for such a summary.

The Council must follow the special consultative procedure before it:

  • Adopts a Long Term Plan (LTP) or Annual Plan.
  • Amends the LTP
  • Adopts, revokes, reviews or amends a bylaw

The Council may be required to use the special consultative procedure under other legislation, and it may use this procedure in other circumstances if it wishes to do so.

Other Consultation Processes

In addition to the statutory requirements the Council has long been committed to public involvement and consultation in the administration of the District.  An extensive network of representation exists.  The administration and provision of services and responsibilities has been decentralised as necessary thereby allowing an effective means of ensuring local input into decision-making.  The range of delegations to Community Boards, Community Development Area Subcommittees and Water Supply Committees contributes to local decisions being made on local issues.

Consultation is often required on issues for which there are no statutory processes or timeframes in legislation.  For consultation on these issues/decisions, guidelines are provided in the Consultation Policy and a separate document ‘Procedural Guidelines for Planning Consultation’ offers further advice.  A key point in the policy is that consultation should be tailored to the complexity of an issue and its potential for controversy. 

In exercising its discretion, the Council should have regard to the nature and significance of the decision and the extent to which the Council is already aware of the views of the affected public.

A consultation plan must be prepared for all decisions/issues that are likely to be of particular interest to a community. 

This plan guides project leaders through eight steps in planning consultation and ensures all affected residents or interested parties are consulted sufficiently over a specified timeframe with a specifically targeted strategy.  The Council’s Strategy and Policy Manager and Communications Manager are available for advice in the development of consultation plans.

Liaising with Māori

The Southland District Council recognises Ngāi Tahu as the tāngata whenua within the Murihiku/Southland District. 

The Council values highly its relationship with Ngāi Tahu within Murihiku/Southland.  To help promote and develop this relationship, the Council (together with the other three local authorities in the Southland region namely Environment Southland, Invercargill City Council and the Gore District Council) is an active participant and signatory to the ‘Charter of Understanding’ between the four Councils and Te Ao Mārama Incorporated.

The ‘Charter of Understanding’ has been revised following discussions at Te Roopu Taiao (the Councils/Tāngata Whenua Joint Management Committee) to incorporate the wider responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2002.

The ‘Charter of Understanding’ provides:

  • The basis for an ongoing relationship between the four Councils and the tāngata whenua of Murihiku to assist in developing the capacity of Māori to contribute to the decision-making processes
  • A foundation for consultation on a wide range of local government issues
  • For the recognition and willingness of Te Ao Mārama Inc to assist all Councils in consultation with all ‘ngā matawaka’ living in Murihiku (ngā matawaka being Māori living in Murihiku/Southland who are not Ngāi Tahu)

Te Roopu Taiao

Meets four times a year. Deals with the higher level political interface, budget setting, accessing resources, commitments from members.  Councillor representatives from each Council plus officers, and representatives from each of the four Papatipu Rūnanga in Murihiku/Southland.

Te Ao Mārama Inc

The day-to-day management structure that is run and operated directly by tāngata whenua. Consists of representatives from each of the four Papatipu Rūnanga in Murihiku/Southland, and some representation from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as and when required.

Kaupapa Taiao Manager

(currently Michael Skerrett) - effectively is the Iwi Liaison Officer role. Has direct contact with the Councils on an almost daily basis. Deals directly with applicants for resource consents for affected party sign offs. Responsible for the daily running of the Te Ao Mārama Inc office and supported by a Resource Management Officer, Dean Whaanga.

Management Structures & Relationships

The Chief Executive is responsible to the Council for:

  • Ensuring the management team provides the Council with policy advice
  • Implementing the Council’s policies to achieve the required results

The management of the Council is structured under six groups. Each group is led by a Group Manager. They are:

  • Services & Asset Management
  • Policy & Community
  • Environment & Community
  • Finance
  • Information Management
  • Chief Executive's Department

The Senior Management Team is made up of the three Group Managers, the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, Human Resources Manager and the Chief Executive and they review all general organisation issues and provide a link between the Council and the staff. A number of Council staff work directly under the umbrella of the Venture Southland organisation which operates as a joint committee with the other local authorities.

Chief Executive

The Local Government Act 2002 requires the Council to employ a Chief Executive whose responsibilities are to employ other staff on behalf of the Council, implement Council decisions and provide advice to the Council.  Under the Local Government Act the Chief Executive is the only person who may lawfully give instructions to a staff member.  Any complaint about individual staff members should therefore be directed to the Chief Executive, rather than the Mayor or Councillors.

The Chief Executive is:    Steve Ruru
                                        Chief Executive
                                         Southland District Council
                                         PO Box 903 Invercargill
                                         0800 732 732
                                         Fax: 0800 732 329

Management Groups


Services & Assets

Group Manager: Ian Marshall
0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329

Responsible for: roading, bridging, water supply, sewerage schemes, property management, reserves management, urban services, waste management, roadside noxious plants control, forestry, Stewart Island Electrical Supply Authority.

Policy & Community

Group Manager: Rex Capil
0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329

Responsible for: communications, governance, community development, consultation, engagement, strategy and policy.

Environment & Community

Group Manager: Bruce Halligan
0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329

Responsible for: resource management, building/regulations, environmental health, liquor licensing, dangerous goods, animal control, customer services, area officers, library services, rural fire and civil defence.

Information Management

Chief Information Officer: Damon Campbell
0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329

Responsible for: computer services, administration, records, archives and word processing.


Chief Financial Officer: Anne Robson
0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329

Responsible for: financial reporting & forecasting, accounting services, rates, purchasing, stock control.

Chief Executives Department

Chief Executive: Steve Ruru
0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329
Responsible for: Human Resources


Equal Employment Opportunities Policy

One of the responsibilities of the Chief Executive, upon appointment, is the promotion of equal employment opportunities within the Council.  There is also a requirement upon the Council to act as a good employer by operating a personnel policy which includes having an equal employment opportunities policy.
The Council has a policy of Equal Employment Opportunity for all staff where:

  • The elimination of any discrimination and the provision of equal opportunities are regarded as essential in the management of staff resources; and
  •  No employee or potential employee shall gain advantage or suffer disadvantage by reason of race, colour, gender, employment status, marital status, personal disability, religion, sexual orientation, age or political beliefs.

The aim of the Council is to incorporate the principles of equal employment opportunities as part of its human resources strategy.  The Council is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunities in recruiting, employing, training and promoting its staff.

Approved Planning & Policy Documents

The Council has adopted and approved a number of key planning and policy documents to assist it in fulfilling the purpose of local government, performing its role as a local authority and exercising the powers, responsibilities and duties conferred on it.

The Long Term Plan (LTP)

The LTP is the Council’s primary organisational planning document, covering a period of 10 years and is reviewed every three years.  It also forms the Annual Plan for the first year.  The intent of the LTP is that it provides a vision and strategic framework within which the Council operates. 

The LTP sets out the Council’s priorities over the medium to long-term.  Under the Local Government Act 2002, the purpose of the LTP is to: describe the activities of Council, describe the community outcomes of the District (or region), provide integrated decision making and coordination of resources, provide a long-term focus for Council’s decisions and activities, provide accountability and also participation by the public in the decision-making processes on activities to be undertaken by Council.

Information to be included in the LTP is set out in Schedule 10 of the Local Government Act 2002, and includes: community outcomes; groups of activities; capital expenditure for groups of activities; statements of service provision; funding impact statement for groups of activities; details of variations between the LTP and assessment of water and sanitary services and waste management plans; information about council-controlled organisations; policy on development of Māori capacity to contribute to decision-making processes; financial strategy; revenue and financing policy; policy for determining significance; financial statements (forecast and previous year); statement concerning balancing of budget; funding impact statement; information about reserve funds and significant forecasting assumptions.

The Council's LTP:

  • Describes the type of District the community wants (community outcomes)
  • Outlines the role the Council will play in working towards achieving that vision
  • Identifies some of the key challenges facing the Council over the next 10 years
  • Provides an overview of each activity the Council will carry out and the services it will provide for the next 10 years
  • Determines how much the business of the Council will cost, and how it will be funded

In addition to the full LTP, Council must also prepare a summary. The summary must be a fair and consistent representation of the major matters in the LTP.

Planning Process Overview

The Council uses a variety of information to prepare the LTP, including information from surveys, other district, regional and national strategies as well as Activity Management Plan (described below).  In addition, Council’s various local committees and subcommittees (Community Boards, Community Development Areas, Water Supplies, Halls, Reserves, Village, Harbours and Jetties) provide input into plans regarding township/area services and are involved in the preparation of local budgets. 
For an LTP the preparation work will start at least one year ahead of the adoption date.  For both the LTP and the Annual Plan, the intensive preparation work (include budget preparation and review by local committees and Council) generally occurs from November - March prior to adoption.

The Council must follow the special consultative process in preparing and adoption the LTP.  Once the preparatory work is complete, the Council’s adopts the draft LTP or draft Annual Plan and this is advertised for public comment.  This is usually in April each year.  A summary document is also prepared and is distributed to all households in the District as well as non-residential ratepayers. The public have at least one month to make a written submission.  As well as making a written submission, submitters have the opportunity to address the Council in person at its submission hearing.  Once all submissions have been considered, the Council then considers any changes it wishes to make to the LTP or Annual Plan before finally adopting the amended document.  This is usually in June, prior to the plan becoming operational on 1 July.

The Annual Plan

The Council is required to produce an Annual Plan in each of the two years when an LTP is not produced.  The purpose of the Annual Plan is to support the LTP, extend the opportunity for public participation, contribute to Council’s accountability to its community, detail the annual budget and identify any variances from the LTP funding and financial information for that year.

The Annual Plan has an operational function to implement the strategy, which has been developed and adopted through the LTP.  The Annual Plan’s primary purpose is to provide the accountability base for the setting and assessing of rates, which cannot be set until Council adopts the Annual Plan.

The process used by Council in preparing, consulting on and adopting the Annual Plan is similar to that described above for the LTP.

The Annual Report

At the end of each financial year (July 1-June 30) the Council publishes an annual report, which contains audited accounts for the previous financial year. Each annual report must be completed and adopted by resolution, within four months after the end of the financial year to which it relates.

The purposes of the annual report are:

  • To promote the Council’s accountability to the community for the decisions made throughout the year by the Council; and
  • To compare the annual activities and performance with the intended activities and performance set out in the Annual Plan/LTP

In addition to the full annual report Council must also prepare a summary of the report. The summary must be a fair and consistent representation of the major matters in the annual report.

The District Plan

The Southland District Plan was prepared pursuant to the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991.  The District Plan was approved by the Council on 8 June 2001 and became operative on 27 June 2001.  The District Plan establishes objectives, policies and rules for the management of the physical and natural resources of the Southland District.

Preparation of the Southland District Plan followed extensive consultation with individual organisations and the general public at large.  Various discussion papers were prepared to identify the resource management issues facing the Southland District and the best options for dealing with those issues.

The Southland District Plan is legally required to be reviewed no later than 10 years after it was made operative ( i.e. by 26 June 2011). However in the Southland District LTCCP 2006-2016, the Council decided to move this time frame forward due to the extent of development pressure being experienced in Southland District and the fact that the bulk of the provisions of the existing District Plan were drafted in the mid-1990s and there have been numerous environmental issues emerge since then and also numerous relevant legislative changes.

Councillors participated in workshops to work through the drafted provisions. Once this was carried out, the content was publicly notified to provide the public with an opportunity to make submissions supporting, opposing or commenting on what was in the Proposed Plan.

Council received 289 submissions and 48 further submissions on the plan. Further submissions allowed parties to comment on the original submissions made by others and to state whether they supported or opposed the points they had made.

Staff are currently in the process of writing recommendation reports which the Hearing Panel will use as they listen to submitters. Hearings are expected to be held in April 2014.

Activity Management Plans (AMP)

Council has a number of Activity Management Plans (AMP) for its activities which support the data and forecasts included in the LTP and provide additional detail about the activities and assets of Council.  AMP assist the Council to ensure that information and assumptions underlying the forecast information provided in the LTP are reasonable, supportable and reliable. 

These plans help to ensure that the Council provides a desired level of service (as defined by the community of Southland District) through the management of assets and activities in the most cost effective and sustainable manner for present and future customers.  Activity Management Planning provides direction for future management of assets and activities and a robust basis for long term financial forecasts.  The Council’s AMP provide information about the following (by the community, where applicable):

  •  What the activity is and why Council provides it
  • What service and performance standards are sought, why these standards have been adopted and how Council has been performing against those targets
  • How demand is likely to change over the period of the plan, the impact of demand change on the assets and services and where the demand-sensitive areas are (eg, where significant investment is required to meet future demand, and/or where the consequence of not meeting demand is high)
  • How the Council operates, maintains, renews and upgrades the networks to ensure performance standards are met in a manner that maximises value for money (eg, how decisions are made on whether to continue maintenance or renew assets, how investment priorities are decided to provide greatest benefit for the cost)
  • The strategies that are in place to ensure risks are understood and managed
  • What all this will cost and the impact on user charges (rates, etc) over the plan period (minimum of 10 years)

Other Plans and Strategies

There are also a number of other plans and district level strategies which assist the Council in its planning and decision-making. All plans and strategies are subject to review including:

  • Forests Management Plan (2009)
  • District-wide Reserve Management Plan (2003)
  • Waste Management Plan (December 2004) (WasteNet - SDC, ICC, GDC)
  • Assessment of Water& Sanitary Services (2005)
  • Public Health Risk Management Plans (various dates)
  • Recreation Plan (2002)
  • Reserves & Open Spaces Strategy (2000)
  • Inclusive Communities Strategy (2009) and Inclusive Communities Action Plan (2011)
  • Customer Services Strategic Plan (2008)
  • Communications Strategy (2010)

The Policy Manual

The Council maintains a policy manual which provides a list of all policies approved by the Council which serve to guide the Council and staff in the areas of discretionary decision-making. Policies can be reviewed, amended, added to or deleted at any time through normal Council processes.

For more information about Council plans and policies contact us: 0800 732 732; fax 0800 732 329 or in the first instance.

Systems for Public Access

Principal Council Offices

Southland District Council
15 Forth Street
PO Box 903
Invercargill 9840

0800 732 732
Fax: 0800 732 329 (external link)

Local Council Offices:



18 Diana Street, Lumsden
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10am to 5pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329 
Area Officer: Rose Knowles


176 Main Street, Otautau
Hours: Monday- Friday 8am to 5pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329 
Area Officer: Kelly Tagg


117 Palmerston Street, Riverton
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8am to 4.30pm, Friday 8am-6pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329 
Area Officer: Alyson Hamilton

Stewart Island

9 Ayr Street, Stewart Island
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-12pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329 
Area Officer: Kirsten Hicks

Te Anau

116 Town Centre, Te Anau
Hours: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329 
Area Officer: Jenny Labruyere


1 Wemyss Street, Winton
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329 
Area Officer: Chris Dolan (Area Offices Manager)


44 Balaclava Street, Wyndham
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 2pm – 5pm, Thurs 6.30-8pm
0800 732 732 
Fax: 0800 732 329
Contact: Paulina Gray (Librarian) 

Contact Details for Community Boards

Edendale-Wyndham Community Board

Chairperson: Mrs Pam Yorke
Phone: (03) 206 4261

Riverton/Aparima Community Board Chairperson: Mr Blair Stewart
Phone: (03) 234 8550
Stewart Island/Rakiura Community Board

Chairperson: Mr Jon Spraggon
Phone: (03)  219 1449

Te Anau Community Board Chairperson: Mrs Ann Carran
Phone: (03) 249 7028
Tuatapere Community Board Chairperson: Mr Justin Lewis
Phone: (03) 226 6633
Otautau Community Board Chairperson: Mr André  Bekhuis
Phone: (03) 225 8588
Wallacetown Community Board Chairperson: Mr Shaun Holland
Phone: (03)  235 8960
Winton Community Board   Chairperson: Mr John McHugh
Phone: (03) 236 1467
















The Council prepares and publishes a quarterly newsletter entitled ‘First Edition’ which is delivered to all residents of the district, non resident ratepayers and other Councils.  This newsletter is used by the Council to inform ratepayers and residents of current issues and activities. From time to time the Council will also invite comments or submissions on certain issues to improve the decision-making process or assist in the development of proposals.

Throughout any year there are numerous opportunities for the public to participate in the decision-making process. This can be via special consultative procedures used for any proposal and also the Annual Plan/LTP. The Council encourages the involvement of all communities within its District through a system of eight Community Boards and 19 Community Development Area Subcommittees in addition to five Wards of the District, represented by the 12 Councillors.

Requests for Official Information

Under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA) any person may request information from the Council.  Any request for information is a request made under LGOIMA.  You do not have to say you are making a request under LGOIMA.

Once a request is made the Council must supply the information unless good reason exists for withholding it.  The LGOIMA says that information may be withheld if release of the information would:

  • Endanger the safety of any person
  • Prejudice maintenance of the law
  • Compromise the privacy of any person
  • Reveal confidential or commercially sensitive information
  • Cause offence to tikanga Māori or would disclose the location of waahi tapu
  • Prejudice public health or safety
  • Compromise legal professional privilege
  • Disadvantage the local authority while carrying out negotiations or commercial activities
  • Allow information to be used for improper gain or advantage
  • The Council must answer requests within 20 working days (although there are certain circumstances where this timeframe may be extended). The Council may charge for official information under guidelines set down by the Ministry of Justice

In the first instance you should address requests for official information to:

The Chief Executive
Southland District Council
PO Box 903
Invercargill  9840