Government delivers Auckland lite

Saturday 5 September 2009, 7:59AM
By Waitakere City Council


Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey describes today’s announcements on the future of Auckland Governance as “underwhelming”.

“When we wanted a full strength beer they have delivered local government lite,” he says.
The decision to retain up to 30 local boards means they will be too fragmented and small to make a difference, he says.

The Auckland Council will decide a funding policy for the boards and the criteria by which that money will be allocated.

“So the Auckland Council holds the purse strings,” says Mayor Harvey.

“Unless local boards are given real decision making power and funding to go with that they will be little more than sewing circle meetings.”

He adds the process of getting to this point has been “completely undemocratic”.

“It began with the rejection, in a matter of days, of the Royal Commission’s findings, was repeated when the Government tossed out Maori seats before their own Select Committee had reported back.

“We presented a detailed and well researched report to the select committee on the second Auckland Bill. We were told our representation was welcomed and made a lot of difference. Despite the flattery, we were largely ignored.

“It’s clear that this reform is driven by political ideology rather than any genuine attempt to consult meaningfully and design a structure that will make Auckland a truly international city.”

Waitakere City staff will continue to deal openly and constructively with the Auckland Transition Authority.

Editors Note:

Waitakere’s recommendations to the Select Committee on Auckland Governance:

The mayor, and all Auckland Council and local board members, should be elected for a four-year term using the STV voting system.

Maori representation on the Auckland Council and throughout local government in New Zealand is supported, with the method and level to be determined by the Government.

There should be six wards for the election of 20 councillors, with each ward electing a number of councillors that is proportional to the population within the ward.

Local boards should be empowered to make decisions on local issues.

The legislation should ensure that sufficient funding and resources are provided to the Community Councils (local boards) by the Auckland Council