Victory in the Auckland local body elections will be bittersweet, as the incoming Auckland Council will need to manage the massive costs of reorganisation, said the Green Party today.
A recent Herald-DigiPoll survey found that Manukau Mayor Len Banks has a significant lead on Auckland City's John Banks for the mayoralty of the newly amalgamated Auckland Supercity.
"It is clear the mayoralty and council positions will be hard fought," said Auckland Supercity spokesperson David Clendon, "but they should be careful what they wish for."
"Whoever wins will have the difficult job of sorting the bill for Wellington's takeover of Auckland."
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has been responsible for the architecture of the new Council and Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs), including direct involvement in the appointment of CCO directors.
No figures have been released on the costs of redundancy, property rationalisation and rebranding, but the new Auckland Transport Agency has already asked for $23m, part of the $100-200m estimate for IT services to establish the new Council and CCOs.
"Rodney Hide is being 'shy' about discussing money, but the Government is no longer even pretending that the amalgamation will save money," said Mr Clendon.
"Aucklanders are being denied the right to democratically elected and accountable management of core services, but they are being asked to foot the bill.
"The Supercity is another example of the John Key Government centralising power to benefit a few, while shifting the costs to ratepayers.
"This legislation is far from what was expected by the people of the Auckland Region, and indeed, far from what was recommended by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.
"The John Key Government has rushed through this important process, and the result is an expensive shambles. Unfortunately it is Auckland that will be left to pick up the pieces and pay the price."
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