Super city ‘flawed’
Franklin Mayor Mark Ball is urging his district to speak up again, to tell him and his council what they like and dislike about the super city proposal, in the hope Franklin’s views will be considered one more time before the Government rubber stamps the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
The district had its opportunity last year to voice opinions on a singular Auckland council, but Mr Ball wants another chance to convey his community’s views to Wellington.
A public meeting organised by Mr Ball and Hunua MP Paul Hutchison will be held at Pukekohe Town Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday.
While Mr Ball accepts that change is imminent, he is believes the establishment of a super council is not ‘‘a fait accompli’’.
‘‘ I do believe that the Government wants to make a change and it will happen, but it is the devil in the detail that they need to look at.
‘‘They want to hear from the communities affected.’’
Franklin District Council has opposed a united Auckland and the abolition of local authorities from day one, maintaining Franklin will lose its unique rural identity and be unfairly represented.
That concern, says Mr Ball, is reinforced by the proposal that the new Hunua ‘‘ sub’’ council be represented by just one ward councillor on a unitary authority of 23 members.
‘‘We don’t get fairly represented today in terms of our importance (within the Auckland region).
‘‘And it not just people and population, it’s the resources that our district provides.
‘‘We are going to have just one vote in a ward of 75,000 people, I just wonder about fair representation for our rural communities.’’
This is a fundamental flaw in the new
elected council’s structure, says Mr Ball, and a threat to grassroots democracy.
The mayor is also concerned for the future of councillors and staff.
The plan is for the new super city council to be up and running by October next year.
This puts around 150 workers and Franklin’s elected members in limbo.
‘‘They (Royal Commission) says it’s business as usual until then, but you try telling that to a turkey when it’s being carted to the Christmas table.’’
Last week’s announcement is likely to have an effect on the level of public input to the council’s just released Long Term Community Plan, on which meetings are due to be held throughout the district next month.
Mr Ball acknowledges that residents will feel they are wasting their time to speak up on a 10-year-plan that is likely not to eventuate.