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AUT researchers give Auckland Super City a ‘B’

AUT researchers give Auckland Super City a ‘B’

Auckland’s Super City is sitting on a ‘B’ grade for its first term performance and needs to prove itself in its second term, according to research from AUT University.

The research report ‘Super City? State of Auckland’ gives voters a sense of how the Super City is performing against the expectations that were set when it was established in 2010. The report identifies some of the issues that voters need to consider when they vote in the local government election in October.

“While the Super City is functioning well in many areas, we are still seeing a lack of clarity about the roles of the Council as governing body and the Local Boards. There is also a perceived lack of accountability of Council Controlled Organisations,” says one of the report’s authors, Professor Judy McGregor.

“It is critical that these relationships are sorted out, otherwise we may see more local communities wanting to break away and seek to regain control of local governance and rates revenue.”

Six other significant findings of the report are:

· While most Aucklanders rate their health positively, there are significant health inequalities in deprived areas;

· Too few Māori, Pacific and ethnic peoples, and younger adults hold elected positions on the Council and the Local Boards and women urgently need stronger representation on Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs);

· The city’s economic performance is modest at best, with no real sign of transformation;

· Inequality of outcomes is a concern, especially in employment and earnings for Māori and Pacific Island Aucklanders;

· Environmental improvements are perceived to have stalled; and

· Against a desired outcome of cost savings, rates increased significantly between 2010 and 2011, and council employee costs have continued to increase.

“If work is put into the right areas, the Super City could be performing at an ‘A’ level in three years’ time. But if not, the rating could easily slip to a ‘C’ which would see Auckland in the doldrums,” says McGregor.

She says Aucklanders should vote for representatives who will address the areas that are holding the Super City back and who have vision for the future.

“Voters should look for representatives who are committed to strengthening the unique Super City model and addressing the inequalities that all Aucklanders worry about. We also need to choose representatives who will guarantee to balance environmental quality with economic growth and the provision of more affordable housing for Aucklanders.”

McGregor also urges young Aucklanders to exercise their right to vote: “Young Aucklanders have the most to lose from the intensification debate, but unfortunately they are also the least likely to vote of all age groups. In the last election less than a third of eligible Aucklanders between the ages of 18-24 actually voted.”

Results of a stakeholder survey carried out at the same time as the main research mirrored many of the findings of the report. Forty stakeholders (mainly elected local government representatives) were surveyed. They wanted to see Auckland Council strengthened in its relationship with central government, Local Boards function more effectively, and a more diverse representation on the Council, Local Boards and CCOs, but were supportive of Auckland’s plans and direction. While most CCOs were thought to have effective governance, council was not seen to have effective oversight of the CCOs, and they were not seen as generally accountable to citizens. The effectiveness of CCOs was also questioned.

For more information or comment from report authors, contact:

Aimee Wilkins, Communications Manager, AUT University

021 385 878

aimee.wilkins@aut.ac.nz

Ends

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