8 April 2009
Source: Scoop Independent News
Confirmation of the Governmentâ€™s decision to establish an Auckland â€˜super-cityâ€™ council has been welcomed by Property Council.
Connal Townsend, Chief Executive of Property Council, said commercial property owners and investors pay a huge proportion of land rates, and those same people have been calling for significant changes to the way the Auckland region is governed.
â€œFor too long Auckland has been governed in silos. Property Council congratulates the Government on its decision to back the establishment of a single unitary authority for Auckland. Finally the Auckland region has the opportunity to move forward with a sense of leadership and purpose.
â€œIt is possible to make the necessary changes to abolish the eight current units of local government and establish the Auckland Council by October next year. It is now time for everyone to work with the Government to successfully implement these long overdue reforms,â€ Connal Townsend said.
While accepting the Commissionâ€™s proposal to amalgamate eight territorial authorities, the Government has agreed to between 20 and 30 community boards, as opposed to the six subsidiary â€˜local councilsâ€™.
While the details of this decision have to be examined, the concept could protect local democracy and community input into the decision-making process.
â€œProperty Council argued in favour of reform before the Commission, and we are pleased that it agreed with our call for amalgamation. We are also pleased that the Government has chosen an alternative to the six â€˜local councilâ€™ options. It is important that residents and businesspeople have the opportunity to engage with their elected representatives at a grass-roots level, and todayâ€™s announcement will enable that to happen,â€ Connal Townsend said.
Aucklandâ€™s current representation arrangements provide for the election of seven mayors at large, 110 city, district and regional councillors, and 30 community boards. The Governmentâ€™s decision announced today will enable more regional decisions to be made at a regional level, while preserving the role of community boards.