I know how busy all our lives are and you may have found it difficult to write a submission or find time to – well fret no further – we’ve done the hard work for you. Attached is a template that you can either use as is or adapt to incorporate your views on the proposed governance.
SUBMISSION ON THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT(AUCKLAND COUNCIL) BILL
To the Auckland Governance Legislation Committee
This submission is from:
We wish to appear before the committee to speak to our submission.
We agree that Auckland needs greater coordination on regional matters, but we don’t believe the model in the Bill achieves what is intended. It will instead lead to dislocation of Auckland, with major frustration at the grassroots community level.
It concentrates too much power in the centre, and gives too little to the next tier of local government. It leaves most people, particularly poorer and minority communities, with less voice and less possibility of achieving local change, than they currently have.
We support guaranteed Maori representation on the Auckland Council.
We support the retention of a regional approach to social issues, and the retention of the purpose of local government under the Local Government Act 2002.
We register our protest at the very short time frame allowed for the process of community input to this issue.
Clause by Clause Comments
We recommend that the purpose of the Auckland Council be based on the Local Government Act 2002:
- ‘To enable democratic local decision making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
- To promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of communities, in the present and for the future’
Why: Local government, regardless of the level and specific functions, is ultimately about democracy and wellbeing, which includes all the above. The Auckland Council’s purpose and functions must reflect that, and not be divorced artificially from it.
All members of the Auckland Council should be elected by Wards, none at large.
Why: there is too much chance of only rich people getting elected on at large basis, because the cost of running an at large campaign will automatically disqualify those without major funds. This will lead to exclusion from the Council, ongoing power imbalances, and a lack of diverse representation. It weakens accountability.
At least three Maori seats, as recommended by the Royal Commission, should be guaranteed, on a basis to be negotiated with Maori.
Why: It is long past time when New Zealand acknowledged Te Tiriti O Waitangi in the most meaningful way, by ensuring Maori voices are heard at the most important tables. Our historic debt to Maori, particularly in regards to the role played in the history of Tamaki Makaurau, needs to be recognised. We have absolutely nothing to fear, and so much to be gained from this.
We support the concept of Community Councils, not Boards
Why: the title ‘Boards’ carries the connotation of Community Boards; a lack of power, a weak body based only on talking. We need strong bodies at the second level of governance.
The principle of shared governance should apply between the Auckland Council and the Community Councils
Why: There must be cooperation and agreement on functions and powers in order to ensure both play their respective roles and neither becomes frustrated and or disruptive to the other
We recommend the powers of Community Councils be extended. They should have the resources, staff and powers to control all local functions, services and facilities, which are not designated by legislation or agreement as regional.
Why: Currently , communities have a large say in their local affairs, they can not only have a voice but get decisions made, facilities and services established. If that does not continue, they will be disenfranchised and have no stake in their communities, and no trust in the Auckland Council.
Community Councils should have the power to conduct local neighbourhood planning in conjunction with their communities
Why: Local planning compliments regional, and should emphasise maximum participation by communities and citizens
There should be no more than 6-11 Community Councils
Why: The Royal Commission recommended six Councils, but allowed that more could be established, to ensure a balance between efficiency and representation. Creating 20-30 Boards will lead to chaotic governance, based on a multitude of unconnected weak bodies competing for attention from the dominant body.
There should be less Councils, but with much more effective powers and functions.