The Government has given details of three bills that will be considered by Parliament to establish the Super City. I like how they have split the bills up, so only the bare minimum is done under urgency, and the rest goes out to select committee. They are:
- Transition Bill – will establish the Council as a legal entity, establish the Auckland Governance Transition Agency (AGTA) and constrain decision-making powers of existing Auckland councils. This will not go to select committee and presumably be passed in May
- Composition Bill – will set the number of Councillors, the split between wards and at large, the establishment of local boards and high level functions for those boards. This will go to select committee and is to be reported back by September. Also deals with the water infrastructure
- Details Bill – will provide full legislative framework, functions, roles and powers of Councils and Boards. This would be introduced later this year and go to select committee, reporting back around April 2010
In an ideal world, even the first bill would go to select committee. But there is no way it could all be completed by October 2010, if a transition authority can;t start work now – and the longer the transition, the harder it is for current staff. Also what the Government has done is only include in the first bill the very high level decisions recommended by the Royal Commission – which were consulted on for around 18 months. It does not include any changes made by the Government – those changes will all go to select committee.
I remain supportive of the overall direction, but think eight is too many at large seats – in fact would prefer none at all. And I think the Government needs to make sure the local boards are meaningful enough that they will attract good candidates. The ability to propose a targeted rate for their area, to fund additional facilities and services is actually quite powerful as I can’t see why the Auckland Council would turn down such a recommendation – so long as the local Board has adequately consulted local residents.Tags: Auckland Council, Local Body Politics