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C&R Stifle Public Debate on Supercouncil

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Thursday 16 April 2009

C&R Stifle Public Debate on Supercouncil

At Auckland City Council’s Regional Governance Committee meeting yesterday, Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors decided not to hold public meetings about Council’s position on Auckland’s regional governance. They also voted to restrict membership of this key committee to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and three male councillors. In addition, the Committee refused to recognise concerns expressed by elected members across the region.

Councillor Richard Northey said he was shocked at the Mayor and C&R majority councillors voting en bloc against his sensible amendments to convene public meetings to inform the public and open up debate.

“I am very disappointed that Aucklanders can only use the council’s Ten-Year Plan hearings to let councillors know how they feel about the biggest shift in power since Auckland ceased to be the capital city in 1863.

“My attempt to expand the committee with a Community Board representative and two additional councillors was also voted down. When I moved a general resolution seeking to work in concert with other councils in the region on shared concerns about the Government’s proposals, it was voted down before I had even finished putting the case. Surely now is the time for the wisdom and views of other councillors and the Auckland public to be brought to bear on the Government before irreversible decisions are made.”

Councillor Cathy Casey said she was very concerned at Mayor John Banks’statement that the Government’s proposal is “a done deal - just get on with it”.

“Mr Banks and C&R councillors are riding roughshod over the people of Auckland regarding the proposed amalgamation. People need to be given an opportunity to persuade the Minister to give the proposed Local Boards a powerful community voice and ensure that precious local identity is maintained.”

Councillor Graeme Easte said it was vital that councils across Auckland work together and that the Auckland public makes an informed response to the inadequacies in the Government’s proposal for the region.

“The Government’s proposed structures for Local Boards and for transport coordination are ill-formed and contradictory. Aucklanders need to be able to put them right.”

Councillor Leila Boyle said, “I find it absolutely outrageous that John Banks and the C&R majority won’t hold public meetings to help Aucklanders understand the National-led Government’s proposals for Auckland’s regional governance, and hear what citizens think about this major issue confronting the region. I am shocked that Bank and C&R would do this after the submission process to the Royal Commission identified accountability and responsiveness as two key characteristics that Auckland’s governance needs to support the development of a successful and sustainable city and region. Clearly Banks and C&R see responding to community concerns and being accountable to the people of Auckland as a waste of their time. Goodness knows what will happen if they get their hands on the Auckland Council and Local Boards after the local body elections in 2010 but there certainly won’t be any listening to the people going on!”

All City Vision-Labour media releases are available on our website www.cityvision.org.nz

ENDS

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