Su­per city ‘flawed’

Franklin County News - - News - By JULIE KAIO

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.

MARK BALL

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