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Waitakere & North Shore Mayors at one with vision

Waitakere and North Shore City Mayors at one with governance vision

Joint Press Release – North Shore City Council and Waitakere City Council

Following a meeting of the North Shore City Council and Waitakere City Council Mayors and a number of councillors, significant agreement is evident in the submission from the two councils to the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Auckland Governance.

Both Mayor Andrew Williams and Mayor Bob Harvey believe that regional government should be enhanced while at the same time “local” government needs to be protected and reconfirmed. Both stress that they wish to see the ‘local’ retained in Local Government.

Its submission is similar to Waitakere’s in that respect, says Mayor Williams.

“The commission’s review is a major and perhaps only opportunity for us to get the governance of this region right.

I believe North Shore City’s approach will help lay the groundwork for our city and the region, and ensure that this area maintains its local identity and governance, yet makes a major contribution to ensuring that the region becomes a true Pacific city with world class attractions and infrastructure.”

North Shore’s submission says that the city understands the Royal Commission’s brief and welcomes this timely review.

“We believe any changes implemented must be robust and flexible enough to allow Auckland to be the growth-engine of New Zealand and to improve its social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being.

“We believe the North Shore is unique because it is well defined geographically, being surrounded by coastline, and has clear communities of interest but also works well regionally.

“Regional government should be enhanced while at the same time “local” government needs to be protected, reconfirmed and strengthened, says Mayor Williams.

Both cities are proud of their uniqueness in their geography and clear communities of interest. As Mayor Harvey says “Who else has the culture of the “Westies””.

Both Mayors emphasise the closenesss of the relationship between the two cities that has built up over the years.

Mayor Willliams says the one real area of difference is in boundaries where North Shore is happy with their current boundaries being defined by the hills north of Albany and the coastline on the other three sides. Waitakere however is keen to look further at their communities of interest both in the south and north of their district.

Mayor Harvey says in the past few months his councillors and community board members have not only been meeting with and taking on board the views of community groups and local people, but they have also been talking to other elected members from around the region.

“And it is fair to say that we have more in common with North Shore than anyone else. For a start, both councils absolutely reject any notion of a super-city and we both want to see a more streamlined, accountable, regional body.”

“I’m impressed with the measured, logical, approach that North Shore City has taken and I’m confident that many of the points we make in our submissions will be complimentary,” he says.

Mayor Harvey says proposals from the likes of Auckland City and the Auckland Regional Council are “lightweight”.

“They are full of bluster and puff, but have no hard evidence to back up their claims. On the other hand we’ve worked through dozens of scenarios, hundreds hours of meetings and are proposing a solution that ill last for the next 50 to 100 years.”

Overall the two cities agree that –

WE SUPPORT:

  • Section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002 which promotes the purpose of local government to enable democratic local decision-making

  • An enhanced regional authority

  • A strengthened relationship with central government

  • Local decision-making

  • Local delivery

WE SUPPORT STRONGER REGIONAL FUNCTIONS, PROVIDED:

  • there are clear net benefits, including from economies of scale, and where there are robust and democratic checks and balances

  • the Auckland Sustainability Framework – a partnership between TLAs and the ARC - continues

  • there is legislative protection to ensure publicly-owned assets cannot be removed from public ownership

WE SUPPORT THE ADMINISTRATION AND FUNDING BY A STRENGTHENED REGIONAL COUNCIL OF:

  • the Museum of Transport and Technology

  • the Auckland War Memorial Museum

  • regional amenities and facilities as agreed by the councils

WE SUPPORT RECONSIDERATION OF:

  • the continued separate structures of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and Auckland Regional Holdings (ARH) to ensure ARTA receives adequate resources

  • the governance of Watercare Services Ltd.

WE SUPPORT GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS FOR A STRENGTHENED REGIONAL BODY WHICH WOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

  • representation on the new body being half appointed from Councils and half elected directly on a ward basis, with the Mayor/Chairman elected by members of the strengthened regional body

  • the four Metro Cities to appoint two representatives, District Councils one each to the regional authority

  • a significant majority in making key decisions (of perhaps 66%) to give the Mayor/Chairperson a genuine mandate to talk to central government

WE SUPPORT STRENGTHENING THE RELATIONSHIP WITH CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

ENDS

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