Council backs local input
GRASS roots representation has been beefed up in Auckland City Council’s plan for running the region in the future.
But the changes weren’t enough to win support from opposition councillors, who voted against the proposal.
The council’s submission to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance was confirmed by 12 votes to seven at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday last week.
The radical proposal put forward by council officers three weeks ago was changed to include more local representation.
And the role of Lord Mayor has been rebranded as Greater Auckland Mayor.
Mayor John Banks told councillors they needed to make bold decisions. “It’s time for change. “We have to lift the anchor that is Auckland from the bottom of the ship of New Zealand.”
Deputy mayor David Hay defended the council’s consultation over the plan, and said he was pleased the draft report sparked public interest.
“It was good the Auckland City Council led the region and put out something that caused some debate.”
Opposition councillors argued against electing a mayor at-large, saying a regionwide mayoral race would be too expensive for most candidates.
Councillor Richard Northey said councillors should chose the mayor from among their members.
“It means any competent or interested Aucklander could have a chance at becoming the chair of the Auckland region, rather than someone who is already rich and famous.”
Mr Northey’s amendments were defeated, as were changes put up by councillors Cathy Casey, Mark Donnelly and Denise Roche.
The final submission proposes a single council replacing the region’s eight current authorities.
Up to 31 councillors would be elected from wards to make up the Greater Auckland Council, with a Greater Auckland Mayor elected atlarge by the public.
Under one option, some councillors would be elected as regional representatives.
Each ward would also have a Neighbourhood Board, made up of four elected members and the ward councillor.
Submissions to the Royal Commission closed yesterday, and public hearings will be held in May and June.
The commission is expected to report its findings in December.