Changing face of a regional supercity
After thousands of submissions and months of speculation, a proposed new structure for Auckland’s local government has been revealed.
The Royal Commission into Auckland Governance, headed by commissioners Peter Salmon, QC, Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand, released its recommendations last week. If the recommendations are accepted, the region would have: • A single Auckland Council to replace the current Auckland Regional Council and seven territorial authorities. • Six local councils to replace community boards, four in urban areas and two in rural districts. • The local council for central Auckland, to be renamed the Tamaki-makau-rau council, will have 22 members, 20 elected from 10 wards, one from Hauraki Gulf islands and one chair. • Instead of bringing concerns to their local community board, residents will have to liaise directly with one of their two ward councillors. • A single mayor will preside over the whole city and will have greater power and resources. • Provision will be made for two of the Auckland Council’s 23 councillors to be elected by voters on the Maori electoral roll and one councillor to be appointed by mana whenua. • The Auckland Council will have one long-term council community plan, one district plan, a new spatial plan and residents will pay one rates bill. • Auckland’s boundaries will change in the south to include areas of north Waikato, including Tuakau, Pokeno and Mercer. • The area of Auckland and the Franklin district which borders the Firth of Thames will be included in the Waikato region. • The central city and waterfront will not come under any of the local councils, but will have its own community board. • If the recommendations are adopted, the changes could be in place for next October’s local body elections.