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One city council for Auckland would restrain rates

Media release Thursday, August 3, 2006

One city council for Auckland would restrain rates hikes

Re-uniting Auckland back under the umbrella of a single council and administration would take the city forward at least cost to ratepayers, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"Rather than have eight councils overseeing the city's development we really need only the one," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Aucklanders all see themselves as from the one city already but we pay property taxes to eight different councils. You have to ask why?

"A city our size, with just over 1.2 million people, does not need four city councils, three district councils, and a regional council with 290 elected persons to represent us.

"Brisbane with much the same population has one council with 40 elected councillors. We don't understand what's so different about Auckland that we need seven times more elected representatives than Brisbane.

"A single elected council with one administration could more effectively handle the region's issues, especially our infrastructural assets, responsibilities and other cross boundary issues. Local amenity issues could be handled by smaller, community councils under localised umbrella councils.

"It's these cross boundary infrastructural issues where the bottlenecks are occurring that are holding back our city's quality of life, business and economic growth.

"Auckland's eight councils mean much time and money is spent devising ways to overcome differing points of views rather than working as a unit to make our city a more attractive place to live and do business.

"While we support the funding of new council projects in part by borrowing, re-uniting Auckland again under a single city council and governance structure would greatly improve productivity and restrain the need for big rates rises.

"We all stand to reap huge gains in efficiency from a single city structure, including rates set on a regional basis, standardised consent processes, and equitable ownership of regional prize assets such as the Zoo, Art Gallery, Eden Park, and Tourism Auckland.

"The benefits would be lasting."

ENDS

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