Today’s Satirical Moment.

“ ‘Ello….I wish to register a complaint. ‘Ello…Miss?”

“What do you mean Miss?”

“I’m sorry, I’ve been stuck on a train for the last three days. I have a cold, pneumonia, malaria and piles not to mention emotional disorders to numerous to count

. I wish to register a complaint.”

“We’re just closing for lunch…”

“Never mind that my lad. I wish to complain about the transport system what I purchased not four years ago from this very Council.”

“Oh yeah…The er, ‘Auckland Transport Network”? Wot’s wrong wiv it?

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it my lad. It’s Buggered. That’s what’s wrong with it.”

“Nah…It’s not buggered. Someone pressed the emergency button that’s all.”

“Look matey, I know a buggered transport system when I see one and I’ve been stuck on one for the last three days.”

“Nah, nah…It’s not buggered, it’s ‘Undergoing Maintenance’. Lovely system the Auckland Transport Network. Look at Britomart Station! Beautiful décor!”

“The décor don’t enter into it. It’s NOT WORKING!”

“Course it’s working!”

“All right. If it’s working, let’s try going somewhere. ‘Come on train! Let’s go to Eden Park! Eden Park I said! Come on!!!!!’ Now that’s what I call a buggered transport network.”

“There! It moved!”

“No it didn’t. That was you rocking the carriage!”

“I never!”

“Yes you did!”

“No! I never did anything!”

“Ello Transport System! Testing, Testing, Testing. This is meant to be the the 12.15 to Newmarket! Are we actually going anywhere! Now that is what I call a buggered transport system.”

“You broke it just as it was leaving!”

“Now look mate, I’ve definitely had enough of this. This transport system is completely and utterly buggered. And when we bought it not four years ago at colossal expense you assured us that it’s complete lack of movement was due to scheduled track maintenance at Panmure and a weta having eaten a junction box at Henderson.”

“Yeah, well, that ‘appens don’t it? Lovely station Britomart. Beautiful décor.”

“Look. I took the liberty of examining that train and I found the main reason it wasn’t moving was it didn’t have an engine at the front of it.”

“Well, we ‘ad to take the engine off didn’t we? I mean, if we’d put an engine on it it would have been getting people to their destinations so fast they’d be there before they left if you follow my meanin’. Close the doors and VOOOOM.”

“Voooooom? Mate, this train system wouldn’t voooom if you put four million volts through it….”

“Funny you should mention that Guv. We were planning on doing exactly that as soon as we can afford it. You ‘aven’t got a spare half billion on you do you? All these bribes….I mean ‘Consultants Fees’ we ‘ave to keep paying don’t half mount up. But you got to admit, as transport systems go it LOOKS beautiful.”

“Yes but it don’t work!!! It’s a wreck, bereft of use it lies there rusting. It has ceased to be. Even the bloody Superflyte doesn’t break down as often as this! It used up all our money and now all it does is get closed for maintenance every five minutes assuming it’s not RAINING in which case it closes down completely. THIS IS A BUGGERED TRANSPORT SYSTEM!”

“Oh….Well we’d better replace it then.”

“Don’t bother. I’ll take my car next time.”

Last chance to submit – for now

If you still have not made a submission to the Auckland Governance Bill 3 then you can do so online at www.parliament.nz

You need to fill in the Captcha – thats the box where you enter letters from an image – a device designed to prove you are human and then click the make an online submission box.   The rest is fairly self evident.

You can write your submission offline and then cut and paste into the editor there – however there does seem to be a 4000 character limit.

Ask to be heard in person – you can always decline later, and ask to be heard on the island.

Submission Template from WICPG

Dear everyone
Attached is a draft submission re. the third bill on the Supercity.  It is a
template prepared by the Waiheke planning group (WICPG).  See the notes
below.    It needs to be received in Wellington by the 12th of February
which doesn’t leave many days to send it.

I know we’re all struck by the dreariness of submitting but the WICPG have
made a strong template which clarifies the issues for those of us who aren’t
really following it.  And the current form of the bill includes fundamental
changes to the way taxpayer assets are managed – basically making unelected
representatives responsible for managing them, and making it difficult for
us to know how decisions are made and almost impossible to influence these.
This is therefore a fundamental threat to our understanding of democracy.

So please take a few minutes to send in a submission – either download it as
a PDF file and fill out the details and send by post, or download the word
version, fill it out, save it and send by email with your own name included
in the file name.   Although using the template, it would be good to add a
few personal comments and there is space to do so.

There is some thought that a posted submission is more likely to be taken
into account, but I’m sure any comment helps.

Apologies if you feel you’re being spammed I thought you might be
interested, and if concerned please circulate this as widely as possible.

Kind regards to all
Shirin Brown

Committee Secretariat, Auckland Governance Legislation, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, Telephone 04 817 8090,

email  to  Select.Committee@parliament.govt.nz

Re Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill – Auckland Governance Legislation Bill 3

[ name ] …… ………………………………………………………………………………………..

[ address ] …………………………………………………………………………………………..

Contacts [ telephones / e-mail]……………………………………………………………………………….

Background : We firmly believe that it is fundamental that Local Government should be for the service and wellbeing of  its ratepayers and residents and communities, and not for associated bureaucratic or corporate privatisation interests.

Thus it must be part of a broader debate about the type of country we want to live in: the balance we strike between citizen, community and government in terms of both power and voice, and how we manage the inevitable tensions between diversity, choice and a desire for common standards (excerpt from the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government  UK 2007).

Waiheke’s experience with our Proposed District Plan (HGIPP), and with Wheelie Bins, and with Matiatia,  has clearly confirmed that Waiheke has lost substantive trust in Local Government especially due to  tthe bureaucratic command and control and arrogant behaviour of the Auckland City Council.  Our experience has been that this is significantly contributed to by the ongoing lack of transparency and lack of accountability to Waiheke ratepayers and residents about many matters. We fear that this lack of transparency and accountability situation will be exacerbated by the move to the supercity unless this Select Committee and this legislation addresses these issues as below.

Submission: I / we oppose this Bill as detailed below

In addition to my personal comments, I agree with the below views

Part 1 and  Part 8 – Trust, Transparency and Accountability and CCO’s : We  believe that this No#3 Bill Enactment must include substantive clauses outling legal obligation to ensure full and open transparency, and full democratic accountability to the people of Auckland, by all Council Controlled Organisations (CCO’s ) or other Council Business Units (BU’s), as well as by the Auckland Council.  We also believe that the default position should be that no CCO should have jurisdiction over any Waiheke service unless it can be proven that such involvement is of  Regional significance.

Part 1 Waste : We support the move for the preparation by the existing local authorities of detailed proposals, as per the Auckland Council’s waste management and minimisation plan (ACWMMP), for achieving long-term integrated waste management and minimisation planning and services in Auckland (including proposals for managing waste contracts, leases, and other arrangements in relation to waste), and look forward to a reassessment of Waste Services on Waiheke with a view to better Waste Minimisation.

Part 2 – Local Boards and Local Decisions : We welcome the assurance from our MP Nikki Kaye that we Waihekeans shall have the opportunity to have consultative input into the proposed powers of our Waiheke Local Board as currently being drafted by the Auckland Transition Agency (due March 2010).  We particularly wish to have the power to administer our own resource consents, and to have a legislated 50:50 input into all capital expenditure decisions and planning decisions regarding Waiheke. We also desire our own peri-urban design panel.

Part 6 – Spatial Planning : We strongly endorse the need for spatial planning, especially to overcome the current great waste of planning resources and poor outcomes due to uncoordinated planning and consequent legal process inefficiency. Additionally we believe that such spatial planning must be statutory, and that its purpose must be subservient to spatial strategy (as in England, Scotland and Wales) which in turn must be subservient to shared ambitions and visions for Auckland, and be focused upon People, Places and Futures and sustainable development, and be linked to The RMA 1991 Part II – “Purpose and Principles”, and also be linked to the RMA Phase II Reforms.

Separately we desire a separate statutory spatial plan for the Gulf as we believe that without such, that our small Gulf Islands population will always mean that insufficient resources are allocated for the wellbeing and Kaitiakitanga of the Hauraki Gulf – Tikapa Moana, and its communities. Our experience with the HGIPP  process validates this view.

I / we  wish to be heard of this submission, on Waiheke if possible*  –  * [delete as necessary]

I / we  wish to support the submission of the WICPG*  – * [delete as necessary]

Signed:    ………………………………………..    Dated :    …………………………………………………

My submission raises the question of how to exit the supercity

To Committee Secretariat, Auckland Governance Legislation, Parliament Buildings, Wellington
Re Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill – Auckland Governance Legislation Bill 3

From: Andrew Watkins
26 Junction Rd, Palm Beach,
Waiheke Island

email: avowkind@gmail.com
telephone: 0210307197

I am a recent resident of Waiheke and have lived in Auckland for five years after migrating here from the UK.  I run the onewaiheke.co.nz web site which supports local democracy and campaigns on the island by making available information from all sources on issues such as Auckland Governance, Waste, Energy etc.

I made a submission to Bill 2 and spoke at the select committee hearing on the island. There I was assured that the members understood and supported the concept of subsidiarity. – That by default powers should be vested in the most local form wherever possible ceding power to centralised groups only where necessary for regional planning.  I was informed by John Carter that I would be ‘surprised’ this time as to how much power the local boards would have – I am still waiting to be surprised.   There are no checks and balances in the proposed bill, no clear statement of the principle of subsidiarity and no measures to allow communities to regain control should the system be shown to be failing.

For this reason I now oppose the bill.

The nature of the process is such that by the time I and the rest of the community discover that we have been duped by wait and see promises it will be too late to do anything about it.

My primary proposal is that the bill makes explicit the means by which Waiheke  – and other similarly motivated communities may withdraw from the Amalgamation should the majority of the community request it.   The process by which Waiheke considered leaving Auckland and joining with Thames/Coromandel should remain an option.

The experience of the Amalgamation of Montreal shows that after some time the costs often outweigh the benefits and many communities have seceded from the Canadian Supercity.   I would like to preserve this right for Auckland Communities.

The political process to achieve amalgamation has been controlled all along by the politicians. We have made numerous presentations and submissions and tit is clear that opinion on the island is split between those who wish independence immediately, and those who are prepared to give the city a chance – for say 6 years.  I therefore ask that you ensure that an ‘exit’ clause is made part of the bill.

I further object to the principle that semi privatized organisations are created (CCO’s) that have minimal oversight by elected officials and do not have to provide full transparency on their business and business practices.  This is the worst of both worlds.   If we wish private organisations to provide services to the populace then they should not have monopolies, they should compete in an open market and they should have to invest their own capital in obtaining state assets.  Some services should always be state run as they are incapable of providing a fair return on investment to capital. These include Water, Transport, Health and Waste.  As the organisations providing such services will necessarily have to put public needs before profit there is no point in pretending that they can be run as private businesses and they should be fully state owned with full public accountability.   The CCO pattern is the worst of both worlds it routes tax payers money to private individuals and companies who do not have to publish or account for their prices or spending. It gives them effective monopolies preventing more efficient private companies OR community  organisations from competing in that service sector.

Specifically to Waiheke there is a clear difference of opinion between the island and the city on the nature of ‘local’ services compared to regional.  For example Water is clearly a regional service on the isthmus – ownership of dams, and the means of distribution is not something you can divide up. However on the island water is a very local – even household issue with provision made through local water storage.  We like it that way.   Hence the Watercare CCO should have no jurisdiction over Waiheke and no rates should be paid for water services.

Similarly the provision of Roads should be independent.  We will have no motorways here and wish to develop a travel network appropriate for the coming environmental changes – this would include weight limits on trucks, more space for cycleways, more public transport provision.

Similarly Waste – Waiheke had the leading waste management system in the region being the only part of Auckland that could seriously talk about zero waste by 2020.  This was lost due to the centralising, monopolising forces of the city.  The current provision takes no account of waste minimisation and rising transport costs over the next decades.

I  wish to be heard of this submission, on Waiheke if possible

Sincerely,
Andrew Watkins

Time to stand up for Waiheke.

Councillor Denise Roche on having your say on Auckland City.

The Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill

The Government is on track to creating the ‘Super-City’ for the Auckland region and the third piece of legislation that will determine how we are governed is out for public submissions.  Submissions need to be into the Select Committee that will be hearing public submissions by Friday 12th December.

Background

The last two pieces of legislation that have already been passed (and the Royal Commission report before that) ensures that Waiheke will have its own Local Board.  The Local Government Commission will report back at the beginning of March with their final decision on which ward we will be part of and how many councillors we will have representing us at the Council level.  (The draft proposal lumped us in with the Central Business District and nearby suburbs and allocated one councilor to represent all 84,000 of us.)

The process towards the Super-City has been undemocratic and rushed and this third bill is no exception to that rule.

Impact on Waiheke

Council Controlled Organisations

This third bill gives further details about how the entire region will be run and recommends the creation of at least seven Council Controlled Organisations (CCO’s) to run key assets and services across the region –  for Water and Waste Water Services, Transport, the Waterfront; Economic Development, Tourism and Events; Property; Investments and Major Regional Facilities.  CCO’s are run along a corporate model and removes elected representatives (Councillors and Local Board members) from most of the decision-making as this rests with directors who are appointed to their positions rather than voted in.

The Bill proposes that the directors for the CCO’s will be appointed initially by the Minister for Local Government, Rodney Hide.  In usual circumstances a CCO’s directors are decided by the Council.  And with the exception of the Transport CCO, the bill prohibits any councilors from being on the boards of CCO’s.

The way the Bill is drafted there is also the potential for the sale of public assets and the privatization of services like water across the region within a few years.

Local Decision-Making

We have regularly been told by government spokespeople that ‘local decisions would be made locally’ and have been lead to believe that the third bill would clarify the roles and functions and powers of the Local Boards.  The third bill does not specify in any detail what these decision making powers will be except to propose that Local Boards can recommend to Council on the introduction of targeted rates, fees and bylaws.    The rest of the functions of the Local Boards are being left up to the Auckland Transition Agency (a group of unelected staff) to develop the details.

On Waiheke we know that without clarity around these roles, powers and functions – and if left to the whims of the Auckland Council – our new Local Board may be given very little decision-making ability.  And it will be difficult to attract good candidates to stand for these positions if the roles are mere window-dressing.   These details need to be in the Bill.

In addition, if it is CCO’s that make all the decisions on our services and assets, then Local Boards become even more powerless as the Bill provides no form of interaction or influence for Local Boards and CCO’s.

There are many possible scenario’s where we may be disadvantaged by the proposals in the bill.  Here are a few:

Water Services CCO:  if the CCO decides to reticulate Waiheke, what power or right does the Local Board have to prevent them?  Waiheke has a strong history of resisting reticulation as it will led to infill housing and a destruction of the character of the island.

Transport: CCO: How does the Local Board influence the CCO if it decides to increase the current wharf charges for the ferry services which has a flow on effect on the ferry fares?

Transport CCO:  Roads and environmental issues from storm-water runoff.  Under the current system we already have difficulties convincing Council to implement low-impact storm water management.  This could be a lot more difficult where the CCO determines the priorities for local roads.

Property CCO:  How do we influence this CCO around the uses for the Matiatia land currently owned by Council?

Please make a submission on the bill

You can post them (two copies of your submission, no stamp required) to:

The Select Committee Clerk
Auckland Governance Legislation Committee
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

Or fill in an on-line submission form at:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/MakeSub/

Or email your submission to: Select.Committee@parliament.govt.nz

And if you need any assistance please feel free to contact Denise Roche, 372 6578 or 027 209 7554 or Email: cr.roche@aucklandcity.govt.nz

Bill 3 – The greens

The Greens, as has been commented in the NZ Herald seem to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of analysing the effect of the various bills on local democracy.   They have provided a guide to making a submission at

http://www.greens.org.nz/actionalerts/submission-guide-local-government-auckland-law-reform-bill

Here are their key points:

The Bill undermines democratic control of local Government in Auckland by transferring power and decision-making in many areas to unelected Ministerial appointees.  It also paves the way for the privatisation of assets that will be transferred to the Auckland Council.

Measures contained in the Bill include:

  • The Minister of Local Government, rather than democratically elected local politicians, will decide what Council Controlled Organisations to establish and appoint their initial directors.
  • The new Council Controlled Organisation “Auckland Transport” will have between 6 and 8 voting directors, but only 2 of them can be elected members of the Auckland Council.  This transfers effective control of transport-related powers and functions from elected councillors to unelected Ministerial appointees.
  • Elected councillors will be prohibited from being directors of all other Council Controlled Organisations, again transferring effective control of vast areas of Auckland’s governance from elected councillors to unelected Ministerial appointees.
  • Watercare Services Limited’s water pricing will not be subject to Auckland Council policy or direction from mid-2015, and the Auckland Council will be permitted to privatise it from that date.
  • The Auckland Council will be permitted to sell strategic assets from mid-2012, meaning that privatisation plans can be completed before voters get a chance to have a say on them at the 2013
    local elections.
  • A tokenistic and toothless board will be appointed to advise the Auckland Council on issues of significance for mana whenua and Maori within Auckland.  The Auckland Council will have no obligation to follow its advice.

Do you have a vote?

I live in rental accommodation.  That means I am not a rate payer and that can mean that in some peoples eyes I don’t get a say in local democracy.  For example when the letters over whether people wanted wheelie bins or bags were sent out they went to the house owners rather than tenants.  As a significant number of houses on the island are second homes or rentals that meant that many of those letters were being sent to Auckland, other parts of  NZ and even to other parts of the world.  How clued in do you think those owner/ non occupiers might be?

Anyway I was a bit concerned that the same would be happening when it comes to the super city and the new local board so I asked our Councillor Denise Roche for some further information.  Here is her reply.

Who can vote?

From what I’ve read the third bill is pretty much the same as it has been under the Local Government Act and what happened last elections. (There might be a change about long term commercial renters – but I’m still finding out about that.)

So what happens is:

All people on the electoral role can vote whether they are renters or landowners.  You do get to vote for your councillor and your local board. – so long as you have remembered to register on the electoral roll.

[ you can check whether you are registered at https://secure.elections.org.nz/app/enrol/ ed]

The issue gets confusing where voters own more than one property in the area or in another area in the Local Authority area.

So scenario A is where Ms X owns two properties on Waiheke and lives on Waiheke: She gets ONE vote for councillor and also for the Local Board for Waiheke.

Scenario B is where Mr Y owns a property on Waiheke and one on the North Shore and his electoral roll address is the North Shore. Mr X gets to vote for the North Shore councillor and the North shore local board AND the Waiheke Local Board. Mr X’s tenant on Waiheke (as long as he’s on the electoral roll) gets to vote for the Waiheke ward councillor and the Waiheke Local Board as well.

Scenario C is where Mrs Z owns three properties – one on Waiheke, one in Papakura and one in Massey. She lives on Waiheke. – The same rule applies: she gets to ONE vote for councillor but can vote for all the Local Boards in the area where she owns properties.

So yes, in a nutshell – it is more than one vote one person for the election of Local Boards.

Clear as mud?

Kind regards. Denise

Submissions on Ward Boundaries

Time move on and if you want to have a say on the ward boundaries and local boards then you need to do so by Friday 11th.

Here follows the submission by the Waiheke Island Community Planning Group (WICPG).

FURTHER SUBMISSION TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION

Ward Boundaries and Representation, and the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009

The case for recognition of, and provision for, the importance of ‘difference’ – Te Motu o Waiheke e te Tikapa Moana[1]

11 December 2009

Introduction

The Waiheke Island Community Planning Group Inc (WICPG) has prepared this submission and is presenting this submission.  This is a further submission to our initial submission of October 16 2009. As outlined in our initial submission, WICPG has been an active community group on Waiheke Island for the past five years.

Submission :

As outlined in our July 21 2009 Submission to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee re the Local Government [ Auckland Council ] No 2 Bill 2009, we believe that the 2-tier system as currently conceived for the Auckland Council is doomed to failure because of its inherent power imbalances which do not sufficiently represent local, but rather attribute Auckland Council governance priorities towards hierarchical command and control CCO infrastructure management only. This is reinforced by the draft Organisation Chart of the ATA Discussion document of Nov 2, by recent press release statements about the No 3 Bill, and by other feedback from the ATA regarding the irrelevance of Waiheke community matters. Thus we lobby for the establishment of a Chief of Local Board Services to report directly to the Chief Executive.

With reference to the LGC Auckland Governance Arrangements Volume 1 doc, we believe that the Maungawhau -HGI Ward as proposed does not meet  Objective 3 to provide for Auckland’s diverse communities”, or indeed the Criteria “effective representation of  those communities of interest,or indeed the Legal Compliance of Recognition of Communities of Interest as “having a shared vision and history”, or indeed the definition of Effective Representation as “not grouping unlike communities of interest.”

Additionally we believe that the LGC skew of Ward representation towards population representation as opposed to communities of interest, does not permit adequate representation for the wellbeings of the Hauraki Gulf.

Thus we lobby for better Hauraki Gulf representation, especially but not only by way of Waiheke Local Board representation on the Hauraki Gulf Forum, and we support other evolving models for such representation including separate spatial planning for the Gulf, and separate bi-cultural governance for the Gulf. We also support the move towards Unesco Biosphere recognition of Waiheke and the Gulf. We also lobby for the establishment of a specific Hauraki Gulf input into the above proposed role of Chief of Local Board Services.

As outlined in our original submission to the LGC dated Oct 16, we believe that Waiheke has little shared vision and history and even inherent communities of conflict rather than communities of interest with those areas dominated by the Auckland C&R party, especially including Parnell and Newmarket as currently included within the Maungawhau-HGI Ward. Thus we lobby for the reduction in the size of the Maungawhau -HGI Ward to better align with the boundaries of the Auckland Central Electorate, and for more Wards overall.

Should the opportunity arise, we wish to be heard at any appropriate hearing.

Appendices :

Original WICPG Submission to the LGC dated Oct 16 2009

WICPG Submission to AGL Select Committee dated July 21 2009

Draft Organisation Chart of the ATA Discussion document of Nov 2,

Preamble to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000,

together Section 3, – Purpose;  and Section 16,(2),(d), – Representation.

Maps showing desired boundary changes for the Maungawhau-HGI Ward

Appendix 2 from the LGC Auckland Governance Arrangements Volume 1 doc


[1] Waiheke Island and the Hauraki Gulf

The Super City and You

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.

Local Democracy

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.

Money $$$$

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 cr.roche@aucklandcity.govt.nz, 372 6578 or 027 209 7554 or Carol Weitzel on 372 7740.

Ward Boundaries and Council representation for Waiheke Island

On Sunday 11th at Ostend Hall about 50 islanders met to discuss the next stage of the supercity process – The allocation of ward boundaries and our proposals for council representation. As a result of discussions at that meeting and afterwards Councillor Roche has prepared the following submission.

To: The Local Government Commission
From:  Denise Roche
Re: Ward Boundaries and Council representation for Waiheke Island

16th October 2009

Introduction

On Friday 2nd October Commissioners held an information gathering and feedback session with councillors and community board members from the Auckland City Council and elected representatives were invited to provide further written information about wards in the new Auckland Council, boundaries of those wards and local boards.

During her presentation to the commissioners Waiheke Community Board member Eileen Evans said that the first preference for Waiheke islanders is to have our own councillor on the Auckland Council.  She also said that there would be further consultation with the Waiheke community regarding the ward boundaries and issues of representation.

Consequently two articles appeared in the two local papers last week and a public meeting was held on Sunday 11th October where the 50 people who attended were invited to express their views about how Waiheke can best be represented in the new Auckland Council.

That meeting and other feedback to elected representatives by email and a one-to-one survey of over thirty local business people by community board member Eileen Evans reinforce the view that the Waiheke community wants Waiheke to be a ward in its own right within the Auckland Council and to have our own councillor at that level.

It is widely recognised that the Great Barrier community have a different view to this one and subsequently the call for a separate ward applies to Waiheke Island only.

Background

According to Department of Statistics 2008 data Waiheke has a permanent population of 8230 people.  This figure does not take into account the semi-permanent summer residents who own properties on the island and who live here part time during the warmer months.   Nearly half of the housing stock on the island is owned by people who have an off-island address and it is estimated that up to a third of the total housing stock is empty during the winter months and occupied during the summer.  Taking this into account for about half of the year the population is around 12,000.

In addition, during the summer months the population can swell up to 30,000 at any time when short-stay holiday makers, day-trippers and boaties are taken into account.

The community of Waiheke is engaged and active in civic affairs.  The letters to the editor pages of our two local papers are always full and are testament to the level of discussion that take place within the community.  There are 198 community organisations on the island that rely on voluntary contributions from our citizens and they range from the health services through to sports and recreation clubs and welfare groups.

In addition Waiheke has a consistently high voter turn out in both local body and central government elections.  Community board decisions and council papers are thoroughly inspected and elected representatives are held accountable with a consistently high number of local people turning up to the public forum part of monthly community board meetings.

Local Boards

Waiheke and Great Barrier are both assured of having their own local boards within the Auckland Council.  We are in no doubt that this is the direct result of the level of activism and engagement that the people in both communities took in advocating for more democracy and local decision-making during the submission process to the Royal Commission on Local Governance and also during the select committee process for the Auckland Governance bills.

The current members of the Waiheke Community Board are very hard working and responsive to the community’s needs.  The existing membership is of 6 members in total (including the Auckland City Councillor) and given that the legislation for Auckland Governance will result in greater powers – and most probably a greater workload – for locally elected representatives the board numbers need to be a minimum of six members but could probably be greater to better distribute the workload.

A separate Waiheke island ward

In the Local Government Commission ‘s A guide for the establishment of new governance arrangements for Auckland it states under ‘Determination on wards’ (page 7):

Statutory compliance with: ….

v) so far as practicable, the boundaries of wards and the numbers of councillors for each ward provide fair representation for the electors of each ward (i.e. the population of each ward divided by the numbers of councillors is within +/- 10% of the population divided by the 20 councillors – referred to as the ‘+/- 10% rule)

vi) if the Commission considers that effective representation of communities of interests so requires, wards may be defined and membership distributed between them in a way that does not comply with the requirements of v. above

We ask that you invoke vi) above and do not apply the “+/-10% rule” to Waiheke and allow us our own ward and ward councillor on the Auckland Council for the following reasons:

1) As an island Waiheke is already recognised as a community of interest.  One of the main concerns for this island community is that there is no similar community of interest elsewhere in the Auckland council region with which we can combine.  This island community has a strong sense of identity that is not shared by residents and ratepayers in the CBD or elsewhere on the isthmus.

This lack of community of interest extends to Great Barrier as well. Despite the fact that both islands are situated in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke and Great Barrier are significantly different islands with different stressors. The Haruaki Gulf Islands District Plan, for example, has caused considerable difficulties for Great Barrier people because of the lack of recognition of the differences between the two communities – and their distinct environments – and the need for different development controls to be applied to each island.

On Waiheke one of our greatest fears is that the ‘isthmusisation’ that occurs now – where the mindset of the isthmus council is transported to the Waiheke community in their decision making – will continue under the much larger Auckland Council and our community feels strongly that to avoid this we need a councillor to not only help with the governance across the region but also advocate for our unique island within the region.

2) Waiheke is already regionally and nationally significant.  We are the largest community in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and our island is seen as being part of ‘Auckland’s playground.’  Consequently having  a councillor from the island will definitely contribute to the regional governance of Auckland and we hope will regionally and nationally significant area.   A major concern for the Waiheke community is that a councillor shared with other mainland areas will not understand and advocate for this environmentally special place and its inhabitants.

3) UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 

Waiheke will play an important role in complementing the new Auckland Council in its attempt to become a world-class city.  It can best play this role by achieving international recognition as a centre for conservation and sustainability.  There is growing support for the idea that Waiheke should pursue this by applying to become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  Such an ambitious project requires special representation at the top level of Auckland Council and having our own councillor is by far the simplest way to do this.

4) Unlike the other current wards in Auckland City Council the Hauraki Gulf islands community boards and ward councillor have mostly been elected as ‘independent’ – that is, without  political party affiliation.  On Waiheke this means that our elected representatives are accountable to our community first and foremost and do not have to follow a ‘party line.’  If we were to become part of a larger ward it is unlikely that an independent councillor could afford to stand and be elected.    This would usher in a new period of political division that so far has not existed on the island in our local governance.

Conclusion

The Hauraki Gulf Islands have long been seen as being tied as a community of interest with Auckland City, however most of these ties are of a practical nature and have very little to do with the council itself.  There is more affinity with the work of the Auckland Regional Council, which administers the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, along with the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and other government departments.
There are educational choices both at secondary and tertiary levels in many parts of the region and health services are provided by District Health Boards and transport (including ferries) is a regional problem.

The unique qualities of Waiheke Island simply do not fit in with the ward proposals that are being bandied about but the island is an integral part of the region and should be treated as such by the proposed Auckland Council.

There is a precedent for Waiheke being a smaller ward within a larger amalgamated body.  The Waiheke community successfully lobbied to have its own councillor and community board after the amalgamations in 1989 where the Waiheke County Council became part of the Auckland City Council.   At that time the population of Waiheke was only around 3000 – however the unique nature of the island and the community’s demand for a continuation of local representation was acknowledged in the subsequent arrangements.

While the size of the community has grown over that time good local governance is still an issue that can excite this passionate community.

We therefore ask that when the Local Government Commission is drafting its proposal for the allocation of wards and councillors for the Auckland Council that Waiheke Island be identified as a ward in its own right with its own councillor.

Denise Roche
Auckland City Councillor
Hauraki Gulf Islands Ward

Ph: (09) 372 6578 or 027 209 7554

Email: cr.roche@aucklandcity.govt.nz