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New Community Boards must have teeth

Media statement Thursday, April 9th, 2009

New Community Boards must have teeth

The 20 to 30 new Community Boards for Auckland must be given the power to set rates for their neighbourhoods, and be held accountable for them, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"The new Community Boards must have teeth," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"The Community Boards need to have much stronger powers than the present community councils have. They must have absolute discretion over how the money collected from ratepayers is spent on amenities in their community areas.

"Community Boards need to be funded from two main sources: an allocation from a region wide rate set and collected by the Auckland Council, and over and above that they should have the power to set rates for their areas.

"In this way the new council structure will deliver more, not less democracy. It will put the local back into local government.

"The Auckland Council should collect all funds and be held accountable to the Community Boards for carrying out work programmes set by the Community Boards for their areas.

"These work programmes should cover all the important local amenities such as local parks and reserves, swimming pools and other sports facilities, libraries, and a lot of local street development and maintenance responsibilities.

"The Community Boards won't be able to take full responsibility for these things unless they are also accountable for the local rates they set and spend.

"A large part of the Auckland Council's work will be in effect as a service provider to the local Community Boards.
"The Auckland Council allocation of funds to Community Boards will need to be done in a way similar to the Decile system used for allocating funds to schools."

ENDS

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