Select Committee does its job

The Herald proclaims:

Super City u-turn: People power wins

What this reflects (if you ignore the ongoing hysteria from MrTwyford) is that the Select Committee has done its job. And in fact has time and time again made positive changes to draft bills.

Like Labour, I never supported the at large seats. Many people agreed and submitted saying so, and the Committee took them out of the bill.

Plans to set up agencies that would control most services and be virtually unanswerable to the public have been replaced with stronger accountability provisions, including allowing the to require the agencies to hold public meetings.

That seems a good compromise between automatically having all meetings in public (something no Council has in place for all CCOs) and leaving the decision solely to the CCO.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said he would consult Auckland’s mayors on the directors for seven council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and leave two vacancies on each CCO board for the Auckland Council to make appointments.

The CCOs need directors who are governing from day one, hence the Minister has to make some initial appointments, but once a Council is in place they can change them as they see fit.

The Auckland Council has also been given the power to appoint the chair and deputy chairs of the CCOs, and the CCOs will be made subject to the council’s long-term and other strategic plans.

This is one of the more significant changes. The ability to appoint and remove the Chair especially is key to making sure the CCO is moving in tandem with the Council.

The report of a special select committee, which received 786 submissions on the third Super City bill, also strengthens and more clearly defines the roles of 21 local boards.

The Government is still refusing to define the roles of local boards in legislation.

But it has listed an extensive list of non-regulatory functions that the boards will undertake and that the Auckland Council cannot take from them without negotiation.

And if I have it right, the Local Government Commission will mediate an disputes.

Local boards will have significant decision-making rights and funding for community, arts and culture, sports and library facilities, parks, reserves and beaches, town centre upgrades, mainstreet and business associations and waste management policies.

The final list of functions and first local board budgets will be set before July 23 by the agency designing the Super City.

I’m certainly a fan of keeping decisions as local as possible.

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