What's On > News

Wards and Boundaries Submission

The Chief Executive Officer
Local Government Commission
Email: info@lgc.govt.nz

From: Grey Lynn 2030

Submission on proposal for wards and boundaries for Auckland Council

1.    This submission is made by Grey Lynn 2030 – transition community.

2.    Grey Lynn 2030 is a participatory community organisation aimed at facilitating and supporting focus groups working towards creating a positive, connected, sustainable, resilient community through practical action.

3.    We take our terms of reference from the Transition Initiative which is a positive response to the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil. The Transition Town movement helps people to reskill and take more responsibility. There are currently 55 Transition Towns throughout New Zealand.

4.    Grey Lynn 2030 is based in Grey Lynn, Auckland, encompassing the surrounding neighbourhoods that form part of the Western Bays Community Board area (including Westmere, Ponsonby, Freeman’s Bay, Kingsland, Herne Bay and St Mary’s Bay). We have over 700 supporters.

5.    We have monthly meetings at the Grey Lynn Community Centre and active focus groups which are presently:

  • Gardening (Community Gardens such as the Wilton St community Garden, projects to encourage local composting facilities, urban food production and seed sharing);
  • Green Screen – monthly screenings of DVDs at the Grey Lynn Community Centre for those who want to be entertained and learn more about sustainability and the environment;
  • Local government group (who liaise with the local community board and the Auckland City Council);
  • Traffic calming;
  • Waste Away Group (this group recently ran a successful eWaste Action Day); and
  • Water Group (working on regenerating local streams)

6.    Grey Lynn 2030 is a local movement with a wide support base.  We have many active members representing a wide range of interests.  As a grassroots organisation access to local political representation is vital to our effective functioning and continued growth.  Representation needs be local and accessible to reflect the particular needs and aspirations of our distinct local community.

Key Points

7.    The Auckland City ward and local boundaries must be determined to ensure “communities of interest” are maintained and encouraged and to ensure effective local representation for the new council and local boards. The Local Government Commission’s (LGC) proposal currently fails to achieve these objectives.

8.    The LGC’s proposals undermine the potential for greater community engagement in local government at a time when groups like Grey Lynn 2030 are demonstrating the importance and desire of local communities to be engaged and actively involved in local issues.

9.    We believe that Auckland is currently “under governed” at local level, a situation which will be exacerbated if the LGC’s recommendations are adopted. As proposed a local board member will represent an average of 12,740 people which is completely inadequate to ensure effective representation.

10.  Given that Councillors will no longer be on the Local Boards, and that the proposed structure and high population ratio to councillors will effectively place councillors at some distance from local communities, the role of boards will be critical in ensuring effective representation and communication with local communities.   Given that there is no second tier in the structure, Local boards will be expected to perform the vital role of conduit between councillors and the wider community.   For this reason, we submit that commensurate with their large size and responsibilities, all Boards should have 8 or 9 members.

11.  Grey Lynn 2030 strongly urges the LGC to introduce a system of roughly equal sized single member local wards as much as is practicable throughout the new Auckland Council.

12.  It is absolutely vital that the new Auckland Council has representation, engagement and confidence from all significant communities across the whole region.

13.  Multimember wards will strongly tend to eliminate substantial geographical and ethnic communities, to make the elected representatives more remote and reduce access to the new Council. All councillors should therefore be elected from single member wards as we consider this is the best way to ensure that, in the makeup of the Council, there is a genuine reflection of the ethnic, socio-economic, political and geographical diversity of the Auckland Region.

14.  We support the Royal Commission’s original recommendation that there be 20 – 30 Local Boards.  It is not clear why the LGC has chosen to ignore this recommendation in favour of only 19 Local Boards.

15.  We are concerned that there are very high differences in population per councillor in the proposed wards which deviates unnecessarily from the principle of one person one vote. It is essential that all votes should be seen to be of roughly equal value.   Differences of up to 17,219 and 24.3% deviate too far from the +/-10% population rule.  We would strongly urge changes that would achieve much closer to equal representation while maintaining effective communities of interest.

16.  This submission focuses on recommendations in relation to the proposed “Maungawhau – Hauraki gulf ward” where the Grey Lynn 2030 community is located.

Waitamata– Hauraki gulf ward

17.  The name Waitamata – Hauraki Gulf would be more appropriate to this geographical location.  The name Mangawhau is associated with Mt Eden and is not representative of the wider area or the actual location and is therefore likely to create confusion.

18.  We propose that the Waitamata – Hauraki Gulf Ward is determined so that is has a population of approximately 74,000 and creates a more logical community of interest within this area by removing parts of Mt Albert Ward and all of the Parnell (because Parnell identifies so closely with Hobson Bay, Remuera and the Eastern Bays) but with the addition of the area around the zoo South of Old Mill Road.

19.  The ward would then have a Waitamata Board with 2 subdivisions:  Western Bays (rest of current Western Bays Community Board area in the new ward) with 4 members; and the distinctive new area, which is mainly in the CBD and Newmarket, to be called something like Karangahape  with 4 members, a total of 8.

20.  As proposed by LGC there should also be a Waiheke local board of 5 members; and a Great Barrier local board of 5 members.

21.  We support a Waitamata Local Board with 2 subdivisions and 8 members because this would be the minimum required to represent the local communities of this unique area.  This ward brings together areas of medium to high density housing including historic residential zones and the CBD – areas of financial and cultural significance to greater Auckland, that are already facing significant developmental and sustainability issues.  This area also hosts many people who visit to work and play in the area including tourists.  We believe the 5 members proposed for the “Maungawhau” ward would not be able to adequately serve and represent the interests of this population including the community of Grey Lynn 2030.

Drafted by Pippa Coom and Mandy McMullins for the Grey Lynn 2030 Steering Committee

Friday 11 December 2009