Coun­cil backs lo­cal in­put

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

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