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Interest High in Royal Commission

April 14, 2008

Media Release (For Immediate Release)

Interest High in Royal Commission

The Royal Commission into governance in the Auckland Region will hear loud and clear from Waitakere.

That’s if the number of submission forms picked up by locals and downloaded from the City Council’s website is any guide.

With just over a week to go before public submissions close, 366 submission forms have been accessed on-line through www.waitakere.govt.nz

Many hundreds more have been distributed by the council at public meetings, through its libraries and so on.

“This is one of the most significant issues the region has faced in decades,” says Waitakere deputy mayor Penny Hulse, who heads the council’s regional governance working party.

“The Royal Commission was clear that it wants to hear from the people of Auckland- not just big business and others with their own agenda,” she says.

“We ‘westies’ are known for being passionate and getting involved in issues like this, so it’s great to see hundreds are taking the opportunity to have their say.”

Waitakere City will approve its own submission at a special Council meeting this Friday (April 18).

Already it has rejected any notion of single “super city” to govern the region. Waitakere also wants to see a strengthened regional body.

Waitakere will be proposing:

- A “Greater Metropolitan Council” which would have responsibility for regional planning and policies (e.g. housing), transport and other major infrastructure, regional economic development (including international investment attraction), tourism, broadband provision, and major events.

- Local authorities would make two appointments each to the Metropolitan Council, which would also have members elected from across the region.

- The chairperson or "head" of the Greater Metropolitan Council would be appointed from within those elected or appointed to it.

- The Metropolitan Council would be the main interface with central government on behalf of the region.

Issues such as any possible boundary changes, ownership of regional assets such as Watercare Services Ltd and Maori representation will be resolved at Friday’s Council meeting.

"Auckland can be sustainable and resilient and it can be an internationally competitive region. But for this to happen we believe that strong governance at two tiers of local government is required," says Councillor Hulse.

In the past month Waitakere councillors have held numerous meetings and workshops to refine their position. These have been informed by a series of public meetings, and meetings with representative groups such as residents and ratepayers' organisations, Maori and ethnic communities.

”On the basis of that dialogue with our community we are confident of presenting a view that has their endorsement,” Councillor Hulse says.

The deadline for submissions to the Royal Commission is April 22. Submission forms are available on-line at www.waitakere.govt.nz or www.royalcommission.govt.nz

Submissions can also be sent directly to the Commission at:

Private Bag 92049
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland 1142


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