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Friday, March 27, 2009

Uber city redundant given two hours notice

If the government let the soon to be abolished Mayors read the report at midday, and we were all reading it on the internet at 2pm that would be a very short sort of redundancy meeting indeed. RNZ:.

The details of the Royal Commission's 800-page report have just been released.
It says the current eight councils should be dissolved and replaced with a new overseeing body, called the Auckland Council.
It would be led by an executive mayor, who would have greater powers than existing leaders.
Local democracy would be maintained by six elected local councils, which would be a new type of body acting for ratepayers but accountable to the new Auckland Council.
[No. Local democracy is eroded and these councils are arguably the same as the current community boards.]
The boundaries to the north
[No. The Northern boundary is the same.] and south of the region would also be slightly changed.
The final decision on what structure to adopt rests with the central Government.
The commission has spent more than a year considering how the region's 1.4 million residents could be better served by their councils.
Prime Minister John Key and senior cabinet ministers met to discuss the report on Wednesday night, and Auckland's mayors were given their first glimpse of the report at midday on Friday.

The Commission has given impetus to centralisation, we have yet to hear the voices against. They are probably still in shock. The PM wants year zero to begin in 2010, but Hide is sounding surprisingly sypathetic towards local democracy:

"I can see merit in having one Auckland organisation to drive, manage and be responsible for all planning and delivery of services.

"The proposals around management of assets, including water and wastewater, appear well thought through. Having one organisation manage all the regional assets makes a lot of sense.

"However, I have some concerns about whether the report provides for adequate local representation in our many diverse communities, and I want to look more closely at this issue.

"It's important to get Auckland governance right as our decisions will shape the future of Auckland and New Zealand for the next 50 to 100 years. We're committed to making a great city greater."

He raises the concerns of most submitters - that the community units will be set as large, generic and impersonal electorates with few powers. Or perhaps, more cynically, he's done the maths I was posting on yesterday regards the difficulty a proportional at-large system (or the mixed one the Commission recommends) might have for the Right?

Either way if the entire Isthmus (except for the city) is to be one community board that would be 450,000 people. Ridiculous. How can the smallest unit of local govt. go all the way from Avondale to Otahuhu and have half a million people and be called "local". Absurd. The exact opposite of what my submission was (below) . Lines of accountability should go from the local to the centre rather than the other way around. The communities should be considered stakeholders in the council rather than moveable appendages:

Any suburb(s) or district(s) over 10,000 population should have the right to form their own community board.
The communities must be able to decide their own Community rate - to be collected by the City on their behalf and put into their own account. Residential and commercial rating would have to be worked out so as not to give communities with large commercial areas windfall amounts, while leaving communities with little commercial areas disadvantaged. The appointment of a community manager that is paid for and reports directly and exclusively to the board would be a good way to ensure community services are run effectively and responsively; however that arrangement may sit uneasily with current models of local governance.
Councillors elected by Ward:
The communities constitute the wards.
4 Wards: Tangata Whenua Ward, Waitemata Ward, Tamaki Ward, Manukau Ward.
The last three wards will be of approximately even population and the boundaries would be expected to correspond to near the portages on either side of the isthmus. These three wards to be allocated min.15-max.33 votes each - distributed around the communities within the ward on a population basis. Each community to have one vote minimum. These votes are the number of members they can return as Councillors - or members of the ward committee that then may appoint their allocation of Councillors. Councillors from communities could be on a rotating basis to ensure every community participates in the Council. The point is that there will be a direct link from the Council to the Communities - and perhaps each community.


At 27/3/09 7:54 pm, Blogger dave said...

"Underwhelmed" is right but you can see their long game can't you? They flaunt it in our face with Alistair Thompson writing about the need to divest the ARC of its Port holdings. This is just a huge snow job to gut the ARC of any social or public policy responsibility, put a rightwing egomaniac like Boris Johnson in charge, sell the parks to developers, run roads through kindergartens, where the kids will be sitting their age 5 national standards exams, and make us all slaves to the capitalist market.
This whole idea of privatising Auckland should be flushed down the sewers.

At 27/3/09 10:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

some guys on News explained new councillors role as being "advocates for their communities " now THERE'S a novel idea ...
Maybe someone could tell my lard arse Councillor here in chch about that concept

At 28/3/09 2:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got no issues with one Auckland City, it makes sense to me & I live in Christchurh.
We've already done it and will soon take up the area from the Waimakariri to the Selwyn Rivers, so encompassing three more councils.

The scary thing are the Mayors powers. Stop those now.

By the way our democratic process seems to work well here in Christchurch, well except for the 2.5Billion loan Sideshow Bob has taken out to pay back his failed developer mates and to bail out the "Ellerslie Flower" show - neither in Ellerslie or particularly full of flowers.


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