One-coun­cil plan ‘flawed’

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

A con­tro­ver­sial one-coun­cil plan for the re­gion will be de­bated by Auck­land city coun­cil­lors at a closed-door meet­ing to­mor­row.

It comes af­ter City Vi­sion mem­bers failed to send the draft plan back to the draw­ing board at a re­gional gov­er­nance com­mit­tee meet­ing last week.

“I think the re­port is so deeply flawed it’s not just a case of tweak­ing it,” said coun­cil­lor Graeme Easte. “I would bin it. “But given that’s not go­ing to hap­pen, I would give it a ma­jor re­haul.”

Op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors who were present couldn’t vote at the meet­ing, leav­ing three Cit­i­zens & Ratepay­ers mem­bers and mayor John Banks to de­cide the next steps.

The plan was re­ferred to to­mor­row’s closed meet­ing, and spend­ing of up to $40,000 on fo­cus group re­search ap­proved.

That’s on top of a con­sul­tant’s fee which chief ex­ec­u­tive David Rankin says is likely to be close to the ap­proved bud­get of $360,000.

The of­fi­cers’ draft sub­mis­sion to the Royal Com­mis­sion on Auck­land Gov­er­nance ad­vo­cates scrap­ing com­mu­nity boards and cut­ting the re­gion’s 264 elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to just 26.

Mem­bers would sit on a Greater Auck­land Coun­cil, led by a lord mayor and four area may­ors.

At last Thurs­day’s meet­ing West­ern Bays Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Bruce Kilmis­ter ar­gued for more grass roots rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

He pre­sented an al­ter­na­tive pro­posal from the city’s 10 com­mu­nity board chair­men and women to re­tain lo­cal boards.

“We’re re­ally keen to put the lo­cal back into lo­cal gov­ern­ment,” Mr Kilmis­ter said.

“The com­mu­nity board is the first point of call for peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.”

Mr Kilmis­ter also said boards were un­happy with the ti­tle lord mayor.

He said they would pre­fer a sin­gle mayor and four deputies.

Mr Banks said coun­cil offi were be­ing steered to­wards in­clud­ing more lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

He said the sub­mis­sion should also in­clude “high qual­ity think­ing” about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween lo­cal and cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

The re­gional gov­er­nance com­mit­tee has asked for more work by of­fi­cers.

The com­mit­tee re­ferred the plan to a closed-door work­shop of all coun­cil­lors to­mor­row.

The plan will be con­sid­ered again by theP com­mit­tee on Mon­day be­fore be­ing signed off by the full coun­cil on April 17.

Sub­mis­sions to the Royal Com­mis­sion are due by 4pm on April 22.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Flawed plan: Coun­cil­lor Graeme Easte says Auck­land City Coun­cil’s plan needs a re­think.

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