North Shore response to boundaries focuses on community engagement

Saturday 12 December 2009, 8:49AM
By North Shore City Council


The North Shore City submission to the Local Governance Commission on the draft boundaries for the new Auckland Council and Local Boards proposes single member Wards and more Local Board members to improve local representation and strengthen the relationship between representatives and their communities, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said today.

“The consensus that emerged from consultation with communities, councillors and community boards is that the proposed boundaries and representation provides a workable basis for good local governance on the Shore, provided a number of important changes are made,” Mayor Williams said.

“We believe the Commission’s current proposals run the risk of the local boards losing the ability to engage effectively with the community and develop the place-shaping role communities want, so local people can make decisions about their own local area.”

“Community engagement will be greatly enhanced by increasing the number of local board members to achieve a maximum ratio of one representative to 10,000 constituents, and that the Auckland Council wards have one councillor and one ward on the ratio of one representative to 70,000 constituents to ensure equitable representation.

“This would lift the number of members for both Glenfield and Birkenhead from three to four members, delivering an eight member local board, for example. It is also proposed that this local board be renamed the Glenfield-Birkenhead-Northcote local board so that the distinct community of one of the oldest suburbs on the North Shore is not lost in the new arrangements.”

“We would also like to see the enormous Hibiscus Coast-Albany-East Coast Bays local board become two local boards, separating the Hibiscus Coast area off, to recognise these two distinct areas with their own communities, and that the southern boundary move south so as to include Aberdeen Road.”

“Another suggestion to the Commission is to rename the Takapuna-Devonport local board the Takapuna-Devonport Peninsula local board, following the advice of the Devonport Community Board that the name proposed by the Commission neglects the people outside the Devonport township.”

“The firm views of the community are reflected in our strong advocacy to the Commission to provide for single member council wards, which would split the proposed North Shore ward to give people a single ward for Takapuna and Devonport Peninsula with one councillor and a single ward for Glenfield, Birkenhead and Northcote with one councillor. The same outcome can be achieved for the Albany, Hibiscus Coast and East Coast Bays communities,” Mayor Williams said.

Mayor Williams thanked the Commission on behalf of the Council, the community boards and the residents of North Shore for their work, and acknowledged the constraints the Commission is working within.

“We believe that the Commission has come up with a proposal that, with some changes as outlined in our submission, will provide a good base for governance arrangements on the North Shore within the Auckland region,” Mayor Williams said.

“However, the roles, responsibilities and powers of the local boards and how much power councillors would have over the new council owned companies for water and transport, for instance, was still up in the air, and getting the third Auckland Council bill right is a vital ingredient to preserving local democracy and to keeping the residents and ratepayers in charge of their community and their city.”