In March 2009 the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance delivered a report to government on the state and future of Auckland. The report recommended that sweeping changes should be made to the way Auckland is run.
The Auckland Transition Agency
The government accepted the Commission’s report and as a result the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA) was set up in May 2009, tasked with combining all the local councils across the Auckland Region into a single, unified, governing entity.
The ATA will complete the groundwork for this massive undertaking by October 2010 and on November 1st 2010 Auckland’s eight existing local bodies will be merged into a single new local governance structure, now commonly referred to as the Auckland Super City (a.k.a. the Auckland Council).
What the Auckland Super City Means for You
The current governing structure of 1 Auckland Regional Council, 3 district councils, 4 city councils and 30 community boards will be replaced by a single Auckland Council and 21 elected local boards.
The new Auckland Council will have one mayor and 20 councillors elected from 13 wards from Franklin to Rodney. This replaces 7 city mayors and a regional council chair, 13 regional councillors and 96 territorial authority councillors.
Under the new scheme the single mayor and the 20 councillors will focus on the “big picture” and make decisions that affect the Auckland region, including your rates.
Below the Auckland Council there will be 21 elected local boards responsible for issues specific to their communities such as community environmental and cultural well-being.
The Government is planning to set up seven business units, known as Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs) to run about 75 per cent of council services – including the management of public transport, tourism, parks and reserves and water care.
Super City Advantages
The new Auckland Council will merge the existing council operations of the current eight councils into a single service provider. The advantages of this include:
- One rating system instead of 8 rating authorities.
- One rates bill instead of two per property.
- One IT data system instead of 8 separate council data systems.
- One regional transport authority instead of 8 local transport entities.
- One water and wastewater provider instead of 8 water providers.
- One Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP).
- One district plan instead of 7 different district plans.
How Will the Super City be Elected?
Aucklanders will vote for the new Auckland mayor, councillors from their ward area, local board members, district health board members and, if applicable, a Licensing Trust member at the same time.
The vote will be conducted by postal ballot. Voting forms will be posted to every Aucklander on the electoral roll over 18 years of age in mid-September 2010. Two weeks are available for postal ballots to be returned, and election day is October 9 2010.
There will be two different methods of voting with the mayor, councillors and board members being elected by the First Past The Post (FPP) system and health board members elected under the Single Transferable Vote System (STV).
Preliminary election results will be released as soon as practicable after the close of voting and the official declaration of the results will occur between the 14th and 20th of October. The Auckland Council and local boards will come into effect on November 1.
As well as streamlining the government of Auckland, reducing wasteful duplicated expenditure, trimming administration numbers, and making it easier for homeowners to understand and deal with their rates, it is hoped that the Super City will also facilitate better ways of aligning central and local government initiatives on improved social wellbeing.
Here’s hoping the Auckland Super City lives up to it’s promises and turns out to be great news for all Aucklanders!
For more information please see the following websites:
Auckland Council www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Elections New Zealand http://www.elections.org.nz
Government Super-City www.auckland.govt.nz
Auckland Transition Authority www.ata.govt.nzUnderstanding the Auckland Super City,