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'The One and the Many'

'The One and the Many': Auckland Regional Council Votes for Greater Auckland Authority

17 April 2008

The Auckland Regional Council today voted to recommend a single unitary authority to the Royal Commission considering how Auckland might best be governed comprising a Greater Auckland Authority and a number of local community councils.

The ARC is proposing that one integrated body, the Greater Auckland Authority, and some 30 Community Councils be established to deliver the functions and services currently administered by the region's seven city and district councils and the regional council.

"The future of Auckland is more important than preserving any one institution,' says ARC Chairman Michael Lee. "Auckland's strength lies in its diversity and the ability for many diverse communities to prosper while connected to and supported by an integrated and cohesive administration with a regional overview.

"Less bureaucracy, more democracy! Our submission to the Royal Commission recommends a simple, responsive and cost effective governance model we believe would be easy for communities to understand and interact with. It would provide central government, ratepayers and other parties like kiwi with a clear partner and a one-stop-shop. We believe it is by far the best option to address the present and future challenges faced by the Auckland region."

The ARC proposes that the Greater Auckland Authority be responsible for regional planning and regional projects including the vertical integration of water, transport, economic development, water management, building and environmental protection and major regional assets.

Community Councils on the other hand would be defined and protected in statute and be responsible for local roads, local community facilities, local parks and reserves, local urban renewal and improvement programmes, community development, environmental enhancement programmes, community safety and law and order concerns. They would be considerably more powerful and influential than current Community Boards.

Mr Lee says the ARC submission to the Royal Commission suggests regional representation on the Greater Auckland Authority be based on parliamentary electorate boundaries and would therefore have 24 representatives including three Maori seats. The establishment of Community Councils would initially be based on existing Community Board areas with additional representation established within territorial authorities areas that do not currently support community boards (Franklin and Rodney).

The ARC proposes the Greater Auckland Authority appoint a regional leader from its own elected ranks, while Community Councils would elect a Chair or perhaps Mayor, depending on the local political tradition.

Community Councils would be able to capture the vision for their local communities within "Community Plans" that together contribute to region wide policies and plans administered by the Greater Auckland Authority.

"The ARC believes the Greater Auckland Authority model is simple, cost effective, democratic and easily understood," says Mr Lee. "In addressing the problems Auckland faces, modifying the status quo won't do. A bold step forward is needed."


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