I know how busy you all are and how jaded many of us have become about having any influence at all in regard to our own governance. But this is an issue that will most directly effect us as Aucklanders. This is our HOME. It is not a commodity that can be stripped of our collective voice without consultation so that a maximum profit can be made for the government coffers. It is important legislation that can not be rushed through (after discarding the recommendations of a multi million dollar Commission report) so that Auckland's future can be exploited for the short term financial gains of the Rugby World Cup.
The government has rejected the Commission's recommendation for 6 locally elected councils and has replaced that with 30 local boards. "Local representation" will be limited to an "advocacy" role in which board members will "petition" Auckland Council for their community's needs. They will have no decision making power of their own and will not be able to set rates for their area.
All of the power will be in the hands of a small and largely inaccessible central inner circle. Auckland will virtually be run by a mayor and chief executive with unprecedented sweeping powers. The mayor will have responsibility for all local governance. He will propose the budget for a super city of 1.4 million people (1/3 of NZ's population), formulate all major policy, and will personally appoint the deputy mayor and all council chairpersons of major committees. There are to be 20 elected members of council, only 12 whom will represent local districts.
This is not democracy. Even the Prime Minister has greater checks and balances within Parliament.
We all know that it makes sense to have one regional authority to control infrastructure and services shared by all - public transportation, arterial road networks, water collection and supply, wastewater treatment, solid waste management, libraries, and regional parks - to avoid duplication and delays in decision making. However, there are clearly aspects of local governance that should reflect the individual character and values of local communities. A total of 12 locally elected counsellors for the entire region can not possibly achieve this.
Attached is a contact list of all National MPs for Auckland. PLEASE let them know that while you support greater efficiency in local governance, you oppose any solution that underminds your right to true democratic representation as a ratepayer. Each local district has a right to maintain its own integrity and character and to make its own decisions in that regard while contributing to a region wide shared infrastructure.
The short time it takes to write and send an email BEFORE legislation strips us of any control over our the city we call home, is time well spent.