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Auckland Council: Governance Framework Review takes shape

Governance Framework Review takes shape

The first steps in implementing recommendations from Auckland Council’s Governance Framework Review were given the go-ahead by the council’s Governing Body today.

The Governance Framework Review looked at how the council is meeting the aims of the 2010 Auckland governance reforms. The primary intent of these reforms was to provide stronger regional decision-making alongside greater community engagement and decision-making at the local level.
A political working party, chaired by Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, was established late last year and today its recommendations were presented to the Governing Body.
Recommendations included:
• more local board input into regional policy decisions
• increased engagement with Auckland Transport and a stronger governance role around town centre upgrades and other local streetscape projects
• that the council considers a significant increase to the local transport capital fund through the Long-term Plan (10-year budget) process
• greater decision-making rights over budgets for local services being delivered in local board areas
• that a three-year pilot project of enhanced local board decision-making in Waiheke is implemented from 1 October 2017.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore says the working party worked collaboratively and challenged itself to address a wide range of complex issues.

"The council is only seven years young and it’s fair to say there has been a focus on regional decision-making over the first two terms,” says Councillor Cashmore.

“We are a maturing organisation and these recommendations start the process of growing stronger local decision-making with a clear focus on community needs.”

The following is a digest of other decisions made at today’s meeting. The agenda is available on Auckland Council’s website and minutes will be added once confirmed. This meeting was also webcast on the council’s website and items are available on demand.

Items 1-9 were administrative and input items (excluding public and local board input items covered below). Item 15 covers information memos and briefings, which are available online.

Item 6.1 Public Input | John Meeuwsen – Governance Framework Review
Waiheke resident and local board member John Meeuwsen spoke to the Governing Body about his and Waiheke residents’ views on the governance of Waiheke Island.

Item 6.2 Public Input | John Faire and a concerned group of Auckland Primary and Secondary Principals – the current Auckland education staffing crisis
Mr Faire and colleagues from the Auckland education sector outlined their concerns around current staffing challenges across the Auckland region and asked for the council to advocate for more government support.

Item 6.3 and 6.4 Public Input | Lisa Prager and Charles Joseph – Waitemata Safe Route Cycleways
Ms Prager and Mr Joseph spoke separately to their views on the Waitemata Safe Route Cycleways and their engagement with Auckland Transport on this project.

Item 7.1 Local Board Input | Waiheke Local Board
Paul Walden, Waiheke Local Board Chair, spoke to the Governing Body on the Governance Framework Review and elements pertaining to Waiheke Island. Mr Walden was on the political working party and noted his board’s support for a three-year pilot project of enhanced local board decision-making in Waiheke.

Item 7.2 Local Board Input | Rodney Local Board
Rodney Local Board Deputy Chair, Phelan Pirrie, presented to the Governing Body regarding the Governance Framework Review and his board’s support for exploring a local rating option via the Waiheke pilot. Mr Pirrie was also a member of the political working party.

Item 10: Governance Framework Review: Recommendations of the Political
Working Party
Waitemata Local Board member Shale Chambers, Deputy Chair of the political working party, noted that the recommendations presented to the Governing Body were largely consensus or substantial majority recommendations of the working party. Mr Chambers also noted there were areas of rigorous debate.

“This review and its recommendations are more than just a nod or nice words – these offer process improvements that allow us to drive leadership and cultural change,” he says.

All recommendations were agreed. Either/or options were decided as follows:
i) the governing body retains decision-making over proposed reserve exchanges under section 15(1) Reserves Act 1977

gg) that the term ‘councillor’ is used to refer solely to members of the Auckland Council’s Governing Body, and that members of local boards are referred to as ‘local board members’.

Item 11: 2019 elections - opportunity to establish a Māori ward
The Local Electoral Act 2001 provides an opportunity for councils to establish Māori wards for the purpose of electing members. Those on the Māori roll would be entitled to vote for a Māori ward member.

Current Māori representation includes the Independent Māori Statutory Board, established via legislation at the same time as the Auckland Council, which must appoint up to two members on the council’s committees that deal with the management and stewardship of natural and physical resources.

On current statistics and with a total governing body of 20 members plus the mayor, the Auckland Council would be entitled to one governing body member elected by Māori ward.

Because Auckland Council is not able to change the total number of governing body members, there would then be 19 general members.

Mayor Phil Goff supports the creation of a Māori seat on the Auckland Council.

“We want this city to be an inclusive and united city,” he says.

The Governing Body agreed in principle to the establishment of a Māori seat, subject to legislative change to allow it to determine the number of members on the Governing Body.

Item 12: Process to conduct a review of representation arrangements
The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires all local authorities to undertake a review of representation arrangements at least once every six years.

The Governing Body agreed to a draft process for reviewing its political representation.

The initial proposal is due to go out for submissions in mid-2018.

Item 13: Potential need to conduct by-elections and Item 14: Budget to conduct by-elections

At the 2017 General Election, two Auckland Council elected members were successful in their election efforts: Denise Lee, Councillor for Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and Simeon Brown, Manurewa Local Board Member.

If hey resign their positions on the Auckland Council it will create a vacancy. The Local
Electoral Act 2001 requires elections to be held to fill the vacancies.

The Governing Body agreed to the required operating budget of $228,000 to cover the costs of these by-elections. (Read report here)


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