Mayor And Local Government Minister Hold First Meeting
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown met formally today with Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta for the first time since his election.
The Minister congratulated the Mayor on his election and expressed a desire for increased community participation in local government and local government elections.
The Mayor and Minister shared their perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009 and how it had operated in practice.
They discussed how they and their officials and officers could work together constructively on the next stage of the Future for Local Government Review, the draft report of which is scheduled to be available to the Minister on Friday.
The Mayor expressed his view that decision-making by Auckland Council and especially its Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs) and other agencies had become too distant from the local communities affected.
He discussed his plans for council committees and local boards to have more genuine decision-making powers. The degree to which that was possible in practice under current legislation would strongly influence Auckland Council’s views on the Future for Local Government Review.
The Mayor and Minister exchanged views on central government’s Three Waters proposal, currently being considered by Parliament. The Mayor appreciated the Minister’s update on central government’s perspectives and likely timelines.
However, the Mayor repeated his earlier comments that the proposal in its current form is unacceptable to the Auckland Council governing body, to him as Mayor and to the people of Auckland. But he said that did not mean he and Auckland Council are opposed to any change to the current system. Council officers would continue to engage with government officials on the topic, on the clear understanding of full reimbursement by central government for both their time and expenses and zero cost to Auckland ratepayers.
The Mayor and Minister also discussed housing intensification, the current economic and fiscal outlook, and the future of Auckland’s used-car and container port.