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