Peo­ple’s voice

Auckland City Harbour News - - Opinion - PHIL CHASE Eden Al­bert Com­mu­nity Board

Lo­cal democ­racy seems to have been for­got­ten in the Royal Com­mis­sion on Auck­land’s Gov­er­nance.

The com­mis­sion ad­vo­cates slash­ing the num­ber of elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Auck­land’s 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple from 261 from 126. This is to be achieved by abol­ish­ing the com­mu­nity boards and some coun­cil­lors.

Most of West­ern Europe has fewer than 1000 res­i­dents per elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive. An Auck­land su­percity will have more than 11,000 per rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

The re­port is si­lent on how the com­mu­nity in­ter­ac­tion will con­tinue or who will do it. All the many com­mu­nity tasks un­der­taken by lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, from lob­by­ing for new parks, en­gag­ing with com­mu­nity groups, safety im­prove­ments, or­gan­is­ing lo­cal fes­ti­vals, to ex­plain­ing zone changes, seem to have been over­looked.

In their haste for change the com­mis­sion­ers have for­got­ten the im­por­tant day-to­day func­tions and roles that make lo­cal gov­er­nance work at neigh­bour­hood level. Com­mu­ni­ties don’t find it easy to be heard, but with half the num­ber of elected peo­ple to speak for them, dis­en­gage­ment, cyn­i­cism and non-vot­ing will only in­crease. And the lo­cal will be gone from lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.