Bring on the Super City

Brian Rudman reminds us why the Royal Commission unanimously recommended creation of the Auckland Super City:

The death rattles that echoed around the recent meeting of the Territorial Local Authority Electoral College are proof of that.

This weirdly named entity consists of councillors from the seven territorial councils and acts as the statutory link between the councils and assorted regional amenities.

Ten days ago it met to rubber-stamp the size of ratepayer contributions for the 2010/11 year for the Auckland Museum, Museum of Transport and Technology and the 10 amenities lumped together under the 2008 Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act.

Funding for the two museums was nodded through without a blink, but when it came to the 10 amenities, three of the councils that fought so hard against the act in 2008 reignited the battle and voted against the levy. …

As a result, an arbitrator – thought to be retired High Court Judge Peter Salmon, QC – has had to be brought in at ratepayers’ expense to decide between the expert funding board and the six parochial councillors who fluked the victory.

There’s hope of a decision within three weeks so the 10 amenities, which include the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Regional Rescue Helicopter, Auckland Theatre Company and WaterSafe Auckland, will know what level of regional funding from July 1 they can expect.

They can’t even on basic funding decisions for regional amenities.

In the electoral college, the opposition came from Manukau, Franklin, Papakura and, to no one’s surprise, the perennially deep-pocketed misers of the North Shore. Tony Millar, the one Auckland City representative to show up, got the backing of the two Waitakere City representatives and, hallelujah, Rodney deputy mayor John Kirikiri.

A week after the defeat, Mr Kirikiri was still steaming. He had defied instructions from his own council to vote against the levy, saying he and his fellow college members were duty bound to follow the wishes of the government legislation.

He also respected the views of the funding board, which, he pointed out, he and his college colleagues had helped to appoint.

“We chose them because they had the knowledge, skill and ability to come up with decisions that the electoral college plainly can’t.”

He adds: “For the electoral college to vote against it is abhorrent. These amenities are relying on this funding. The Super City’s got to be better than what we’ve got now. Good riddance to this committee, it’s plainly not doing what it was set up to do.”

And that is the Deputy Mayor of Rodney.

There will be some teething issues with the new , but I am sure in 2020, most Aucklanders will look back and wonder why they left it so long to get rid of their divided and bickering local Councils.

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