Big city – big wards
AUCKLAND’S supercity council ward boundaries have taken shape, but not everyone is happy with what’s being proposed.
The Local Government Commission has recommended a total of 12 wards and 19 local boards to make up the new structure of the Auckland Council.
Across the Auckland isthmus there would be four wards – the Whau and Maungawhau-Hauraki Gulf Islands wards, that will have one councillor each, and Mt Albert-Mt Roskill and Orakei-Maungakiekie wards, with two councillors each.
Avondale Community Board chairman Duncan Macdonald says it could be difficult merging Waitakere city’s New Lynn and Green Bay with Auckland city’s Avondale and Waterview to form the new Whau ward.
“There’s going to have to be some patience from people on both sides until it gets sorted.
“It could end up as a bun fight between groups from two cities.”
Eden-Albert Community Board chairman Chris Dempsey says the formation of the new Mt AlbertMt Roskill ward is bound to raise a few eyebrows among locals.
“I think it will be a diffi- cult thing to knit together. You will get a lot of disgruntled people in Mt Albert who don’t want to be associated with Mt Roskill.
“Given the choice, they’d rather go with Mt Eden because it’s more middle class.”
If the draft proposal is accepted, Mt Eden will become part of the MaungawhauHauraki Gulf ward along with suburbs including Ponsonby, the central city and Parnell.
Western Bays Community Board chairman Bruce Kilmister says he isn’t happy with just one local board representing the entire mainland in the ward.
“I think the local boards are too big. To say the needs of communities like Grey Lynn and Ponsonby can be compared to Parnell is stretching it too far.”
Mr Kilmister says he wants to see a subdivision down the middle of the ward, which allows people to only vote for local board candidates that stand in their area.
All other local boards on the Auckland isthmus have at least one subdivision to improve local representation.
Mt Roskill Community Board chairman Richard Barter is happy with the ward and board boundaries, but says the true test will be how much power the lo- cal boards are given to deal with issues and provide services.
City Vision-Labour leader Richard Northey says the huge size of the OrakeiMaungakiekie and Mt Albert-Mt Roskill wards means getting effective representation will be difficult.
Manukau mayor and supercity candidate Len Brown says fewer local boards should give them the power needed to make a difference in their local communities, but is concerned the size of some of the wards such as Orakei-Maungakiekie are too big.
Auckland mayor John Banks says while his preference would have been for 28 local boards, the tight timeframe means “we must make it work”.
Commission chairwoman Sue Piper says issues such as public accessibility to councillors and the need for candidates to reflect a range of sectors in the community were among those considered.
The Local Government Commission is taking public submissions until December 11 and a final decision will be made on March 1.
To make a submission email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax (04) 494-0501 or post to the chief executive officer, Local Government Commission, PO Box 5362 Wellington.
Ward boundaries P3
Charity ride: Guy Pinfold, 2, is practising riding his “big boy bike” with mum Tessa and sister Meg in preparation for the Heart Children New Zealand charity ride.