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Thursday, 24 July 2008

GETTING A STRONGER VOICE WITH AUCKLAND

Some islanders worry that if we were with Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) for our local governance instead of Auckland City Council (ACC) we would have no say in any Auckland matters that affected us. They are worrying unnecessarily. That is already well covered in law and in the reorganisation proposal.

First, under the mandatory Principles of Local Government laid down in section 14 of the Local Government Act 2002, we have section 14(1)(e): 'A local authority should collaborate and co-operate with other local authorities and bodies as it considers appropriate to promote or achieve its priorities and desired outcomes, and make efficient use of resources'. Local authorities must also 'promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities, now and for the future' (section 10). So doing something against our well-being is against the law, and councils should collaborate and co-operate to that end.

Second, we would have a much stronger voice with an Auckland authority if we were with Thames-Coromandel, because instead of a kneecapped community board and a lone, patronised Auckland councillor trying to get the attention of The Machine we would have a full council speaking for us, in council to council negotiations--TCDC talking to ACC or ARC, or whatever will be there from 2011 onwards. Or we would have a combination of TCDC and EW talking to them (EW is Environment Waikato, the regional council for Thames-Coromandel, which in spite of its name reaches to the top of the peninsula, covers the Hauraki Plains, and bounds the Auckland region at Franklin).

We would have a strong voice on TCDC, because we would have 23.3% of the vote (not the 2.3% we have with ACC or the smudge of 1% we would have with a Greater Auckland Council), and we would have three out of twelve councillors on a council that really does consult and listen. On top of that the reorganisation proposal (http://waihekenotes.blogspot.com/2008/04/draft-reorganisation-proposal-for.html) also has the regional councillor, Simon Friar, sitting on both community boards, so both islands would have a direct line into our regional council, something we do not have now (Simon is deputy chair of the Finance & Audit Committee, a member of the Policy & Strategy Committee and the Regulatory Committee, and chair of the Regional Pest Management Committee--rats and other pests beware!).