The structure is to be:
- One unitary Auckland Council for the region
- One Mayor, elected at large, with governance powers
- 20 Councillors, 8 at large and 12 from wards
- 20 to 30 local boards as the second tier of governance
- Local Government Commission to determine ward boundaries and number and shape of local boards
- No Maori seats (unless voted for by the public)
- Continue with a three year term
- No Minister or Cabinet Committee for Auckland but an Auckland Transition Committee to be chaired by Rodney Hide.
I am very pleased that they have replaced the proposed six local Councils with a larger number of smaller local boards, that will provide better community representation.
Also pleased to see the Local Government Commission set all the boundaries, so they are presumably of equal size. I would prefer no at large Councillors, but they have at least reduced the numbers.
The Maori Party will presumably not be happy that there will be no dedicated seats for Maori. The Government has said Maori representation will continue to addressed by the Local Electoral Act which allows 5% of electors to demand a poll on establishing a Maori ward. So I guess the message for supporters of Maori wards is to go off and get 5% of Aucklanders to sign a petition for one. If they do, then a poll could be run with the 2010 election about adding them on. Sounds like a smart compromise – leave it to the people.
Overall the decisions look to be a good improvvement on the Royal Commission report, especially the introduction of smaller and more local boards to keep local government local.