The biggest shake-up of local government in Auckland’s history is happening right now. What will happen to Waiheke?
In the next few months, decisions will be made that will dramatically change the governance and management of the wider Auckland area. This affects all of us on Waiheke. Your thoughts and ideas on these changes are crucial for the future of our island.
Have your say before it’s too late. Don’t be complacent. This is about our community, our island, our lifestyle and the future of Waiheke.
The Local Government Commission has just released a proposal on ward boundaries and representation at the super-council level. The
final stages of the Super City will be put into place very soon.
The current proposed position is that Waiheke Island is part of a new ward to be called Maungawhau – Hauraki Gulf Islands, which includes the Central Business District and in population terms (88,000) is the largest ward to be represented by a single councillor.
Our public assets are under threat
Many generations of Waiheke ratepayers built and paid for our community halls, wharves, roads, parks and sports fields.
The Auckland Transition Agency, made up of unelected staff, are organising how the new mega-city will work. It is looking at transferring ownership and control of some of these assets into corporate entities (Council Controlled Organisations) that have little public accountability.
Some of these assets may be sold
Some service provision may be sold or be committed to long term contracts (as has already happened in the waste management area) with multinational corporates in control or alternatively council corporations such as Watercare Services in control of waste water services.
Under the Auckland Governance structure, we will have a local board at the community level, but it may have little or no say or control
over areas that are critical to our lifestyle and the island’s future. These include:
- effective protection of our environments, landscapes and coastline
- how are our services and activities are funded
- control over delivery of services like libraries, waste services and community halls
- an effective say on roads, footpaths or parking
- effective involvement in management of our parks, reserves, Arts and Recreation facilities.
What little say we might have – beyond specified local activities such as dog and liquor licensing and brothels – will have to be
negotiated and will be ‘delegated’ to us.
Development of the Island
Will the special character of our island be lost in the one big plan for the Auckland Council?
The two new laws that the government has already put in place say that at community level the Local Boards will not be able to own
anything, or employ staff or have any say in the regulatory processes (for example, resource consents).
This potentially means we will have no effective control over how our island develops or how our environments are protected and enhanced.
The new laws say our community must negotiate with the new super council for every cent of funding. Funding for communities is
likely to be based on a population base which means our small unique community will be disadvantaged.
What does it all mean?
How can we assess these changes to see what they are likely to deliver for us?
We are being offered an input into strategies and policies. Does that really mean that local decisions will be made locally?
What happens in a worst case scenario if it all goes pear shaped? Can the local board take legal action against the Auckland Council? There does not appear to be provision for this. Considerable confusion exists about the real decision making power a local board will have.
What about the bureaucrats? We have no input into that selection process or their employment or conditions of employment.
What can you do about all this?
Find out more, for example on local boards, the local board plan, local board agreements and the local board funding policy. Go to www.lgc.govt.nz for more information on wards and boundaries, www.ata.govt.nz for how the Auckland Transition Agency is organis-
ing the new city or www.auckland.govt.nz for information on all aspects of the transition to the Super City.
Join the discussion – sign up to One Waikeke Council – at www.onewaiheke.co.nz – for discussion around these issues.
Come and discuss the issues with the Community Board at the Ostend Hall on Thursday 3rd December at 6.30pm.
Come out to a public meeting on Sunday 6th December at 2pm at the Ostend Hall for discussion on local representation on the super council, and these other issues. Help and advice with be provided on making a submission.
Come to a workshop to write your submission on Wednesday 9th December at 6.30pm at the Surfdale Hall.
Do your own submission to the Local Government Commission – these are due in by 11th December 2009. Here is a template: LGC Ward Boundaries Template – please edit into your own words. Here are some Ideas for futher comments LGC submissions
Put out a submission on the third bill on Auckland Governance – this is expected out in December 2009.
Get out and be active on this matter, get friends, neighbours and family involved. Feel free to contact your Councillor Denise Roche for any help or further information, at email@example.com, 372 6578 or 027 209 7554 or Carol Weitzel on 372 7740.