Wai­heke in­de­pen­dence bid frus­trates

North Shore Times - - LOCALJOBS - ROSE DAVIS

Our Wai­heke is frus­trated at be­ing locked out of the process to de­cide on the is­land’s bid for a coun­cil of its own.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion has in­formed Our Wai­heke and North Rodney Ac­tion Group that it will not ac­cept fur­ther in­put on their ap­pli­ca­tions to break away from Auck­land Coun­cil at this stage. The com­mis­sion re­leased a re­port in July from Mor­ri­son Low con­sul­tants that dis­missed the two ap­pli­ca­tions to break away from the Su­percity as not be­ing ‘‘prac­ti­ca­ble op­tions’’.

The two groups cam­paign­ing for in­de­pen­dence raised con­cerns about the Mor­ri­son Low re­port and the com­mis­sion agreed to a peer re­view of the re­port. How­ever, the com­mis­sion then closed its doors, re­fus­ing to re­veal which com­pany will be re­view­ing the Mor­ri­son Low re­port or to dis­cuss the re­view find­ings, Our Wai­heke spokesper­son John Meeuwsen said.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Suzanne Doig said in a let­ter on Novem­ber 2 that it would be ‘‘pro­ce­du­rally un­fair’’ to meet only with the two groups, when the com­mis­sion has an obli­ga­tion to ‘‘the com­mu­nity as a whole’’. The com­mis­sion de­cided that the whole of Auck­land is af­fected by the two ap­pli­ca­tions for small ar­eas to break away from Auck­land Coun­cil.

The Mor­ri­son Low re­port stated that a Wai­heke uni­tary coun­cil would op­er­ate at a deficit of $6.4 mil­lion the first year and rates would need to in­crease on the is­land by 43 per cent in the first year to cover the cost. A North Rodney uni­tary author­ity would have a deficit of $13.5 mil­lion a year, re­quir­ing a rates in­crease of 48 per cent, the re­port stated. The only op­tions Mor­ri­son Low con­sider to be prac­ti­ca­ble are re­tain­ing the cur­rent Auck­land Coun­cil and cre­at­ing an ex­tra lo­cal board in Rodney. The com­mis­sion is ex­pected to de­cide be­fore Christ­mas whether to pro­ceed with the pro­pos­als to cre­ate new coun­cils on Wai­heke and in North Rodney, Meeuwsen said.

ROSE DAVIS/STUFF

Our Wai­heke spokesper­son John Meeuwsen (left) in his role as a Wai­heke Lo­cal Board mem­ber.

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