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Boundary proposals a good start says Mayor

20 November 2009

Boundary proposals a good start says North Shore Mayor

Boundaries for the new Auckland Council and new local boards published today are a good first step and provide a workable basis for further discussion, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said today.

“The Local Government Commission has done a good job with their ‘first cut’ at the draft boundaries for the new Auckland council and local boards, and with a little work they will provide a solid basis for strong local representation,” Mayor Williams said.

“North Shore City has been sliced in two, with one enormous ward of nearly 145,000 residents in the south covering Takapuna, Devonport, Glenfield and Birkenhead, and another ward of just over 120,000 residents in the north covering the Hibiscus Coast, Albany and East Coast Bays, each with two Auckland councillors elected at large.”

“The clear preference of 84 percent of North Shore residents in a recent survey is for smaller wards with one councillor each, because it gives them a councillor who is directly accountable to them and has a strong mandate to advocate for their community at the top table, especially in regional decisions that will affect their local community.”

“This preference can easily be accommodated by the Commission in the final boundaries by aligning the wards with the local boards resulting in one ward with one councillor and one local board for Takapuna and Devonport, and one ward with one councillor and one local board for Glenfield and Birkenhead. A similar result can be achieved for the northern ward boundary divisions.”

Mayor Williams said the Commission had clearly listened to the views of local people who wanted to see local boards with sufficient size and ‘critical mass’ to be effective.

“Local communities will be fairly pleased with the Commission’s proposals for the local boards, and the Commission has indeed listened to local views by delivering specific sub-divisions or ridings within the local boards to better reflect distinctive communities, such as Devonport,” Mayor Williams said.

“Overall, I feel the Commission has made a very good start, and with a few changes, will be in a position to deliver final boundaries that accord fairly well with what most people are looking for.”

“The proposed boundaries are now open for submission until 11 December, giving people one last chance to have their say, and the Council will be making a further submission to the Commission and will also be encouraging local groups and individuals to have their own say on the proposed boundaries.”

Mayor Williams added that it would be helpful to local communities and the Council should the government release the third Auckland Council bill, due next month, before the submissions on the proposed boundaries close.

“The government has told us that the third Auckland Council bill will contain the detail of the role, powers and responsibilities of the local boards, and also set up around eight council controlled organisations run on commercial lines to deliver local services. Having this information is vital for local communities to reach a final view on the new boundaries and the membership of the local boards, before the submissions close in three weeks time,” Mayor Williams said.

ENDS

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