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ARC Chairman commits to local government reform

ARC Chairman commits to local government reform process

15 September 2006


The Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council says an improved model of local government in Auckland requires a commitment from all councils to look for a stronger alternative to present to Central Government.

Presenting the ARC position paper at a meeting of the Auckland Mayoral Forum today, ARC Chairman Michael Lee said he was open to opportunities to change Auckland’s governance for the better. He encouraged the Mayors and their respective councils to support a collective and inclusive process of decision-making.

“In the past week I have taken the chance to step back and work collectively with my councillors to reflect on what is needed to take Auckland forward,” said Mr Lee.

“Much of Auckland’s local government works well but clearly some parts do not,” he said. “There is quite clearly a lot of public disenchantment with local government. Let’s accurately define the problems before we jump to solutions.

“Let’s consider and agree on the best governance, organisational and representation arrangements to promote effective and efficient decision-making about regional infrastructure and urban growth challenges. We also need to protect local democracy and improve the way we interact with our regional community.”

Mr Lee said he agrees that Auckland needs to achieve stronger regional governance, greater efficiencies and cost effectiveness across the board.

“Recent events actually highlights what is not working. At the top of the list is the way we communicate and include each other. The debate about local governance has only highlighted the inadequacies of the present system.

“To really get this off the ground we need a stronger case and we need to get to work. If we are to put forward an effective option for local government reform in Auckland, we need to change our approach and put Aucklanders first. In essence we are talking about a culture change in local government.”

The ARC agrees it’s time to progress a number of issues across the region. These include the way in which we manage water, stormwater and wastewater, rates, civil defence and emergency management, economic development, sports stadium rationalisation, administrative savings and democracy.

Mr Lee said Government officials indicated to him this week that they are willing to support a change to improve Auckland and enhance regional government, however they want to see some level of consensus in the region.

“We need to show the Government and the public that Auckland can get its act together.”

ENDS

See...
Letter to Prime Minister (PDF)
Mayoral Forum Presentation (PPT)

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