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Ratepayers will suffer under supercity plans.





Media release     23 April 2008


Ratepayers will suffer under supercity plans.


Smaller local government units will be in charge of peanuts.


An alternative solution – ‘Polyopolis’ - The Auckland Tri-City Polycentric Governance Solution


There is a real danger that ratepayers will be the big losers if the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommends an all-powerful supercity council – a basically reborn and enhanced Auckland Regional Authority with only token lower level democracy.

Many of the business-orientated submissions propose giving this new super-council full power to set, collect and spend all rates and other income currently controlled by cities and districts in the region.

One of these lobby groups, the OneAuckland Trust, proposes a single council with 30 or so community boards. It says total income regionwide from council rates, fees and charges totals $2.5 bn. annually.

Of that huge sum the OneAuckland Trust proposes to give each local Community Board control over the spending of the princely sum of about $2 million.

That means just $60 million would be controlled locally, leaving $2.44 billion in the hands of the few at the top of the governance structure.

This is giving peanuts to the monkeys down below while the organ-grinder goes on a spending spree.


Meanwhile where will the $2.44 bn go?

Eden Park and other 2011 World Cup infrastructure?

A downtown convention centre?

New Headquarters for the ‘strengthened regional government’?

One thing is for sure – ratepayers and small community boards will have almost no influence on the spending decisions.

Other business lobby groups are proposing similar structures – all including the demand for a single rating level at the top of the structure, with token and toothless local community boards or councils some way below the real powerhouse of the supercity council.

NoMoreRates has proposed, in its submission to the Royal Commission, a new governance structure which would ensure real power to influence and make decisions at local level.

This would be achieved by a system of democratic representation based on revised methods of electing representatives from local communities who would interact at the three levels of governance.

The proposal is based on the reality that the Auckland region is made up of three strong sub-regional centres – North, Central and South - which are all growing in economic strength and importance.

Polyopolis - The Auckland Tri-City Polycentric Governance Solution


The basic system stems from elected local Community Councils, grouped together into three cities which, in turn,  appoint, from within their members, three representatives each to form a Greater Auckland Regional Authority (GARA)

The basic details

Tier 1. Community Councils based on single-member constituencies (Wards)

Each community council elects its own chairman who, together with one other member, is appointed to serve on the city council.

The Community Council would be formed on existing Community Board boundaries updated as necessary to reflect any changes in community of interest.


Tier 2. City councils made up of community council members and some directly elected members on a citywide ‘at-large’ basis. City Council elects its own mayor and deputy-mayor for a three year term.


Appoints Mayor and two other councillors to GARA.

[The three cities would be loosely, North Shore, Manukau, and Auckland City. existing The present Waitakere City would be split into community councils and placed within North Shore and Auckland City.; Papakura re-established as one or two community councils within Manukau; the Whangaparoa part of Rodney becoming a community council within North Shore (probably renamed North Harbour) and the rest of Rodney moved into the Far North Region; the whole of Franklin moving to the Waikato Region.

These changes would remove the potential for the conflict which has arisen in the past between city, district and regional councils]

Tier 3. Regional Authority consisting of appointed members from City Councils.

Appoints a Regional Mayor of Auckland – this office to be filled by each of the three city mayors serving a one year term. [This makes it clear that the mayor is the civic head but is not an executive  

This system provides direct connections between votes at the base level and elected decision makers at all level of governance.





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