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Council Officers' Plan an Attack on Democracy

Media Release City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council For Immediate Release Monday 31 March 2008

*Auckland City Council Officers' Plan an Attack on Local Democracy*

An Auckland City Council officers' report unveiled this morning details plans to replace Auckland's Regional Council, four City Councils, three District Councils and thirty Community Boards with a 26-member Greater Auckland Council and is a full frontal attack on local democracy say City Vision-Labour Auckland City Councillors.

"Basically, this plan dismisses the Regional Council and the seven current local authorities by replacing them with one unitary authority of twenty-one elected 'neighbourhood councillors' using the current parliamentary (General Electorate) boundaries," says Councillor Cathy Casey.

Councillor Glenda Fryer points out that the plan means "Auckland City would be governed by only six elected councillors each with responsibility for between 60,000 and 65,000 people instead of the current nineteen elected councillors and fifty-two elected community board members."

Councillor Leila Boyle says "Replacing two or three local councillors and five or six local community board members with a single councillor elected across a huge area means that local people will not be able to easily access their elected representative. Our communities will have real difficulty getting local issues heard in the corridors of power and the result will be a huge decrease in local democracy and decision-making."

Councillor Graeme Easte says that people must fight to retain community boards to ensure there is no dilution of local democracy. "The Community Board is many people's first point of contact over local issues. I haven't heard any call for the axing of community boards from people in the street, indeed the plea has been to give them more delegated authority so they can do more for and with their local communities."

The officers' plan is intended to form the basis of Auckland City Council's submission to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance. City Vision-Labour councillors urge people to contact their local councillors and voice their concerns before the plan goes any further and to also make individual submissions to the Royal Commission by 4pm on Tuesday 22 April.


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