NAG break­away bid frus­tra­tion

Rodney Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTERS

The North­ern Ac­tion Group (NAG) is out­raged at be­ing locked out of the process to de­cide on north Rod­ney’s bid for a coun­cil of its own.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion has in­formed NAG and Our Wai­heke 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 dis­miss­ing the two ap­pli­ca­tions to break away from the su­per-city as not be­ing ‘‘prac­ti­ca­ble op­tions’’.

The two groups 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, NAG chair­man Bill Town­son said.

The peer re­view find­ings will be re­leased when the com­mis­sion de­cides whether to re­tain the present coun­cil or to pro­pose changes. Auck­land res­i­dents would be con­sulted be­fore any changes.

Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Suzanne Doig said in a let­ter on Novem­ber 2 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 Mor­ri­son Low re­port con­cluded a north Rod­ney uni­tary au­thor­ity would have a deficit $13.5 mil­lion a year, re­quir­ing a rates in­crease of 48 per cent.

Town­son dis­missed Mor­ri­son Low’s cal­cu­la­tions as ‘‘non­sense’’, as they based cost pro­jec­tions on Auck­land Coun­cil fig­ures.

‘‘That’s like do­ing a new busi­ness plan in Wark­worth and bas­ing your cost­ings on Har­rod’s in Lon­don - it’s just to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate.’’

The fig­ures were a mi­cro­cosm of the coun­cil’s ap­por­tioned cost struc­ture, Town­son said.

‘‘It shows you just how bloody in­ef­fi­cient it is. And that is ex­actly what we are try­ing to get away from.’’

NAG have had their own re­port done by APR Con­sul­tants based on three uni­tary coun­cils of sim­i­lar size.

‘‘The an­swer comes out to­tally dif­fer­ent,’’ Town­son said.

NAG are await­ing the re­ports fi­nal ver­sion and will then pub­li­cise the re­sults, and re­quest the com­mis­sion con­sider them as a rea­son­ably prac­ti­ca­ble op­tion.

JAY BORE­HAM

Bill Town­son has been fight­ing to be free of the su­per-city since its amal­ga­ma­tion.

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