ARC proposes Greater Auckland Authority
EMBARGOED until 5am, 15 April 2008
‘The one and the many’ - ARC proposes Greater Auckland Authority with Community Councils
The Auckland Regional Council is proposing a single unitary authority, the Greater Auckland Authority, supported by Community Councils as the model for local government in the Auckland region.
A draft submission to the Royal Commission considering the future of Auckland governance will be discussed at a special council meeting on Thursday.
The draft submission considers five potential governance options for Auckland and the council has focussed on two options to the Royal Commission – a modified status quo option and the preferred option, a unitary authority including effective Community Councils.
The five options considered by the ARC included the status quo, three unitary councils, a strengthened regional council with seven territorial authorities, a strengthened regional council with three territorial authorities and a single unitary authority with Community Councils.
ARC Chairman Michael Lee says the proposed Greater Auckland Authority is a bold initiative by regional councillors which believe it is the best approach to solve Auckland’s current governance problems and take the region through the next 50 to 100 years.
“The future of Auckland is more important than preserving any one institution. It’s the ratepayers and people of Auckland we have to think about first.
“Positive, region wide progress has been held back for too long by fractiousness and rivalry over roles and responsibilities,” says Mr Lee. “It’s the Auckland disease.”
“The Auckland region has been held back by multiple rival councils with overlapping roles, responsibilities and mandates. If Auckland is to progress we need a new governance model that’s more efficient and effective, reduces duplication, is transparent, encourages faster and timely decision-making, and gives the people of Auckland a greater opportunity to be involved.
“Our preference, therefore, involves building a whole new governance model from the ground up – one that provides local communities with a voice, local resources and support at a regional level; a single unitary authority including effective Community Councils to ensure ‘local’ remains in local government. It’s simple and elegant.”
Mr Lee says a single Greater Auckland Authority would provide a ‘one-stop-local-government-shop’ with one rating bill, one common building consent and resource consent standard, and one set of rules. Many community voices would together contribute to one regional voice – ‘the one and the many’.”
“Our preferred option is designed to deliver a clearly defined and transparent division of labour and political accountability between the regional and the local level. It’s designed to foster dynamic local democracy at community level within a cohesive approach to the whole city-region. In other words more democracy and less bureaucracy.
“This provides for two tiers of local government but two tiers within the one united organisation. It relies on one integrated administration to support and implement decisions. It also places the responsibility for local community assets at the local level while responsibility for major city/regional assets would be vested with the Greater Auckland Authority.”
Mr Lee says the ARC’s preferred option would also deliver savings and efficiencies within the order of $160 million per annum to the ratepayers of Auckland.”
The ARC will adopt its final submission to the Royal Commission at a special council meeting on Thursday 17 April 2008.