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Hide: Representation Guaranteed For All Aucklanders

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide. Pic: NZPA
Rodney Hide. Pic: NZPA

Local Government Minister Hon Rodney Hide said today the Government's decisions on the governance of Auckland would provide effective representation for all Aucklanders.

Speaking at the release of the Government's high-level decisions on Auckland governance, Mr Hide highlighted the decision to establish 20 to 30 Community Boards across the region, each of which would be named after its local community. The Local Government Commission will determine the exact number of boards and their boundaries, as well as the boundaries of the Auckland Council and its wards. It will report back in April 2010.

"The new system for Auckland governance is much simpler, more co-ordinated and will provide for community representation at grassroots level. The Local Boards will have prescribed roles and functions, but will not replicate the service delivery structures that will be managed by the new Auckland Council, which will replace the existing eight councils.

"The Boards will provide the ability for residents and ratepayers to influence decision making, while the Council will fulfil the functions that are most appropriately managed on a regional basis.

"Whether it be through the Mangere or Henderson Board, the Pukekohe or Papakura Board, the Waiheke or Devonport Board, local communities need to be able to manage local issues and express their identities. That is what makes Auckland special." Reflecting their geographic position, the smaller communities of Great Barrier and Waiheke Islands will each have Local Board representation.

Mr Hide said the Government had rejected the Royal Commission's proposal of six local councils because it would mean unnecessary and costly duplication of service delivery, and be too large to allow effective grassroots community representation. "We now have a simpler, clearer governance structure that provides strong leadership at the regional level and community representation at the local level. This is the foundation stone upon which we will make Auckland a great place to live, and drive New Zealand's economic growth.

"It is essential the new structure is in place in time for the local body elections in 2010. This means we have chosen to have a faster timetable than the Royal Commission was looking at.

"However I want to reassure Aucklanders that the everyday services they expect from their councils will be maintained while the changes are being made.The new structure will provide room for greater efficiencies through less duplication and waste, as well as faster progress on issues which have gone unresolved for years, such as transport.

"It is imperative that the new Auckland Council focuses on the future of Auckland and how it is going to turn Auckland into an internationally competitive city. The newly-appointed Council should not be distracted or encumbered by having to carry out an organisational restructuring. This will be the responsibility of the Establishment Board which the Government will appoint.

"The Establishment Board will work closely with existing council CEOs throughout the transition process. The councils have committed to a steering group and this will be an important and valuable contributor to the development work. It will also be vital to a smooth transition.

"We need to act decisively if we are to achieve the timetable that will allow the new structure to be established before October next year. This will allow Aucklanders to have their say on whom they want to run their region and represent their communities."

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