The next step on Auckland’s future – with your help
The government has announced its position on the Royal Commission’s report into Auckland’s governance and is now taking the next step. You play a big part in that. The government has adopted the commission’s topline recommendation for the Auckland Council – one council, one mayor and one rates bill.
The commission said that was the best way to tackle the region’s problems – such as suffocating red tape, increasing rates, transport bottlenecks, and lost opportunities – and it should result in some significant cost savings. We agree.
But we don’t agree with the second-tier recommendations on the make-up of the Auckland Council and the local councils supporting it.
We don’t think they provide Aucklanders with effective community representation.
That’s why we’ve proposed a structure for the Auckland Council with 12 councillors elected from wards and eight at large, supported by 20 to 30 local boards.
We want to know what you think about that.
Our next step is to start a legislative process that considers the proposed changes, listens to the public, and defines the Auckland Council’s structure and the roles of the local boards.
We’ll be sending three bills to Parliament and will pass the first under urgency next week.
It will establish the Auckland Council as a legal entity, set up a transition agency to oversee the move to the new structure, and define how the region’s existing councils should work in the meantime.
We’re using urgency so we can get the ball rolling and get the new structure in place for the 2010 local-body elections.
That doesn’t mean everything has been decided. On the contrary, there’s a lot we need to sort out.
The second bill will go through a select committee process ending in September that will lay out the structure of the Auckland Council and the boards, and make the Local Government Commission responsible for deciding boundaries.
The third bill will deal with more of the details and as the second and third bills go through select committee, Aucklanders will get a chance to have a say about the region’s structure.
We can’t sit on our hands for another three years without making progress.
Auckland’s future – and New Zealand’s prosperity – is too important for that.
Mr Carter is the Associate Minister of Local Government.