Papakura pushes to be unitary authority

Wednesday 9 December 2009, 1:54PM

By Papakura District Council



Papakura is to seek the approval of the Minister of Local Government to become a unitary authority outside the jurisdiction of the coming Auckland supercity.

In a letter to the Minister, Papakura Mayor Calum Penrose points out that the Council’s opposition to the proposal has been consistent and widely supported by the community.

“During all the well-attended public meetings held on Papakura in regard to Auckland’s governance, people have continued to express their disappointment that they were never asked by the Government whether they wanted to be part of an Auckland Supercity,” he said.

Though the earlier Royal Commission on Auckland Governance had approached its task with an open mind, the Government had then ignored its recommendations and pushed through its own legislation under urgency.

“People are still asking when they will get their say. I have to answer that they will not, that the Government’s agenda was set from even before the Royal Commission delivered its report.”

Mr Penrose said the Government’s “abandonment of any pretence at democratic process” had hurt people in communities like Papakura.

“To retain the unique identity of this District and our community, we have come to the conclusion that we have no alternative but to seek to become a unitary authority.”

Though the minimum population base for a unitary authority is 50,000 and Papakura currently falls short at around 46,500, Mr Penrose said existing growth predictions showed the District quickly exceeding the minimum.

The community action group has also written to the Minister to ask for Papakura to be made a unitary authority. They say the supercity is “unwanted and deeply flawed” and will not deliver increased local democracy.