NZ Herald on Auckland Reform

The takes a more constructive attitude to the reforms that the incumbent Mayors who seem horrified that in future they may only be local community board chairs. I think we know what motivates them. They’re the same Mayors who refused to put constructive solutions up to the Royal Commission, and just defended the broken status quo.

The Herald editorial:

The Government’s refinement of the royal commission’s design for Auckland is nearly right, but not quite. The single city overlaying 20 to 30 community boards looks a better balance of power and local democracy than the commission’s six subsidiary councils.

Absolutely. But that is what the Mayors are fighting to keep.

But the gap between the two tiers would be wide, and that makes the electoral arrangements for the higher body more important.

The Government, conscious of the gap, perhaps, has increased from 10 to 12 the number of Auckland Council seats to be elected from constituencies, leaving eight to be elected, like the mayor, across the whole city. But why have any council seats elected city-wide?

I agree. And people should submit on this issue to the select committee.

If the purpose is to ensure that at least a core of the council takes a broad view of the city’s interests, it is interesting that the same principle has not altered behaviours in Parliament. List MPs are not beholden to territorial constituencies but their behaviour is not notably different from those of colleagues representing electorates.

A good point. Also it will be horribly confusing having maybe 50 people standing for eight at large positions.

The 20 council seats could have electorates identical to those of 20 community boards, if the Local Government Commission settles on that number of boards.

That to me would be ideal. Each ward should elect one Councillor, who would also be a key liasion with the community board.

The electorates could even match parliamentary constituencies in the Auckland region.

I have no problem with that, but understand some MPs do not like the idea of the City Councillor becomign a de facto shadow MP, as may happen if they have the same boundaries and represent the exact same set of constituents.

And it should be a simple matter to add two Maori seats elected from the Maori parliamentary electorates that cover the area. That would simultaneously put right two failings in the latest proposal.

As the Government says, there is an existing law that allows Aucklanders to have Maori seats, should they so wish them. Only 5% need sign a petition.

The Government envisages community boards having roles that would include dog control, liquor licensing and graffiti clean-ups. Their autonomy should go beyond those tasks. Community boards can, and should, continue to make many of the resource consent decisions that affect the character and amenities of the area but do not impinge on the wider city.

I also tend to agree here, and again would advocate people submit for enhanced powers to the select committee.

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