I see the malcontents and disaffected are calling for a referendum on the Super City. I think that's a good idea. Let the people of Auckland decide. I've even drafted the question (yes/no answer of course):
Do you agree that the Auckland region should be governed by a Super City council that has a vision for Auckland that Auckland needs an overarching vision for the region uniting Aucklanders to achieve prosperity for all, quality of place and lifestyle, and enhanced well-being for the region’s diverse and growing population; and that the Auckland Council should include a vision for the region in its spatial plan; and that the Mayor of Auckland’s annual "State of the Region" address should describe progress towards the attainment of the vision; and that Auckland needs governance structures for economic development capable of working effectively with central government to address major regional issues as well as meeting the localised needs of Auckland’s communities and businesses; and that partnership should be developed between central government and Auckland’s local government to address the region’s long-term economic development and to formulate immediate responses to the current economic conditions; and that the Auckland Council should adopt a comprehensive regional economic development plan and an associated funding plan; and that the Auckland Council should establish a) a regional economic development agency within the Auckland Council with functions and activities b) local economic development agencies reporting to the regional economic development agency (existing economic development agencies may be retained where appropriate) & c) a high-level, regional cross-sectoral advisory board comprising representatives of central government, local councils, business, education, and not-for-profit organisations; and that the regional economic development agency should take an innovative approach to developing long-term funding relationships, drawing funding from the regional budget, central government economic development programmes, and the private sector on specific projects; and that the transition should comprise of a Cabinet Committee and Minister for Auckland which should begin work immediately with the Establishment Board to lay the ground for the Auckland Council’s work in priority areas, including the Rugby World Cup 2011 and broadband; and that as a basis for future decision making by the Auckland Council, the Establishment Board should review whether existing local economic development programmes are delivering value for money; and that Urban Design, and Heritage Auckland needs governance arrangements for the region’s built and natural environments to ensure Auckland’s quality of place is maintained and enhanced; and that the Auckland Council should establish an Urban Design Panel to review all major developments throughout the Auckland region, with sign-off power for major projects; and that the Auckland Council should establish a Heritage Advisory Panel to assist it with the identification of heritage buildings and places, and the formulation of rules to ensure their preservation; and that the Auckland Council and the Northland Regional Council should develop a co-management regime in respect of the Kaipara Harbour, involving relevant territorial authorities and mana whenua representatives from local iwi with the final structure and responsibilities to be determined by the Auckland Council and the Northland Regional Council; and that the Auckland Council should a) undertake environmental monitoring (potentially in collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment) b) benchmark progress and collaborate with central government on environmental programmes, including the limiting of air pollution from motor vehicle emissions c) appoint a park ranger with responsibility for volcanic cones d) prepare an internal code of conduct including procedures to manage councillors’ involvement in individual regulatory decisions; and that central and local government’s annual social well-being spend is in the vicinity of $12 billion in the Auckland region so it is critical that these resources are applied effectively, to achieve the best outcomes and accordingly, Auckland needs a governance structure for social well-being that enables local and central government to share decision making and accountability for improving the effectiveness of resources spent, and addressing the critical social issues in Auckland; and that a Social Issues Board should be established as the main governance body for social issues, with central and local government membership with the powers of the Social Issues Board to be set out in Terms of Reference approved by the Cabinet Committee for Auckland and the Auckland Council; and that the Social Issues Board should develop a Social Well-Being Strategy and Implementation/Funding Plan with a Social Issues Advisory Group of officials to be established to support the Social Issues Board which should be co-funded by central and local government with responsibilities; and that the Auckland Council role should centre on providing leadership and facilitating improved social well-being outcomes but direct delivery of social well-being services by the Auckland Council should not duplicate central government responsibilities and should be part of the Social Well-Being Strategy and Implementation/Funding Plan; and that the Government should give consideration to aligning geographic boundaries of local government and central government agencies responsible for the delivery of social well-being services; and that the Establishment Board should ensure the necessary structures and processes are in place to ensure that the Social Issues Board, the Social Issues Advisory Group, and the Auckland Council are able to commence work on their immediate priorities; and that Auckland needs governance structures that promote the benefits of diversity and support culture and recreation; and that The Mayor of Auckland should take a leadership and advocacy role in promoting and welcoming diversity, and encouraging acceptance of migrants and minority groups in Auckland; and that the Auckland Council should establish two advisory panels, one relating to the arts and the other to recreation and with the assistance of the advisory panels, it should develop strategies for regional arts and recreation activities and their associated funding; and that Local councils should be responsible for implementing culture and recreation policies in their communities, partnering with local groups where appropriate, and representing the views of local communities at regional level; and that the Auckland Council should consider establishing a council-controlled organisation ("CCO") to hold and to operate the regional arts, entertainment, convention, and major event facilities; and that the Government should give consideration to the introduction of a four-year electoral term for local authorities in New Zealand; and that the Auckland Council as a unitary authority should be formed to assume all local government responsibilities in the Auckland region; and that when the Auckland Council is established, the following existing local authorities should be abolished:Rodney District Council, North Shore City,Council, Waitakere City Council, Auckland City Council, Manukau City Council, Papakura District Council, Franklin District Council, Auckland Regional Council; and that the Auckland Council should operate and have representation at two levels: the elected Auckland Council, and six local councils; and that all local councils should be given Māori names and these should be determined by the Local Government Commission after consultation with mana whenua, with the new Māori names used by the Commission being the suggested starting point for consideration with the interim names of the six local councils to beRodney Local Council, Waitemata Local Council, Waitakere Local Council, Tāmaki-makau-rau Local Council, Manukau Local Council, Hunua Local Council; and that the Auckland Council should comprise a single organisation, with a single staffing and management structure which should employ one chief executive officer, who will employ all other council staff (but not staff of council-controlled organisations) at both Auckland and local levels, including local council managers for each local council; and that staff from the eight abolished councils should be transferred to the Auckland Council, at least initially; and that local councils should share the governance of their areas with the Auckland Council but will be subsidiary to it; and that the Mayor of Auckland should preside over the Auckland Council and should be elected at large by the electors of Auckland; and that the Auckland Town Hall should be the symbolic centre for the Auckland Council; and that when the Auckland Council is established, all existing community boards within the territories of the abolished local authorities, except for the Waiheke and Great Barrier Island Community Boards, should be abolished and a new City Centre and Waterfront Community Board should be established; and that the assets and liabilities of abolished territorial authorities and of the Auckland Regional Council should be transferred to Auckland Council. However, a fair apportionment of the assets and liabilities of the Franklin District Council and Auckland Regional Council should be made between the Auckland Council, the Waikato District Council, and the Waikato Regional Council, to reflect the boundary changes proposed by the Commission; such apportionment to be made in accordance with the Local Government Act 2002, Schedule 3, clause 69; and that all existing interests in council organisations, council-controlled organisations, and exempt organisations held by current councils should be transferred to the Auckland Council on the establishment date; and that the Establishment Board should develop the proposed structure of the elected Auckland Council and local councils (including the committee structure and advisory panels and groups); and that the Establishment Board should develop the proposed organisational structure of the Auckland Council which will include defining the key roles and positions for council administration, staffing levels, staff locations, and the systems necessary for the Auckland Council to operate on the establishment date; and that the Establishment Board should review the functions and activities currently carried out by the Auckland Regional Council and seven territorial authorities, identifying those that will continue to be carried out by local councils, and those relevant functions and activities to be undertaken directly by the Auckland Council; and that the Establishment Board should determine the location of council offices (particularly Auckland Council, and Tāmaki-makau-rau and Rodney Local Councils) and service centres; and that the elected Auckland Council composition, role, and functions should comprise 23 councillors elected or appointed as follows:10 councillors elected at large, eight councillors elected in four urban wards, two councillors elected in two rural wards, two councillors elected at large by voters on the Māori electoral roll, one councillor appointed by the Mana Whenua Forum; and that the role and functions of the Auckland Council should be as prescribed for unitary authorities under the Local Government Act 2002 and other legislation, and as may be additionally prescribed in any future legislation referring specifically to the Auckland Council or any of the abolished local authorities; and that the Auckland Council should be responsible for all asset management, debt management, and revenue raising. It will also develop one set of financial plans and policies for Auckland; and that there will be one rating system for Auckland and ratepayers will receive one rates bill; and that the Auckland Council should operate a hierarchical and integrated planning framework; and that there will be a new regional spatial plan and one district plan for Auckland; and that the Auckland Council should be responsible for the production of the long-term council community plan and annual plans as required by the Local Government Act 2002, for its own operations and the operations of local councils. There will be one long-term plan and annual plan for Auckland; and that the Auckland Council should establish advisory panels and groups as necessary to ensure appropriate expertise is available to it and the Auckland Council will appoint an Appointments Advisory Panel which will assist the Auckland Council to recruit directors or representatives to serve on boards of council-controlled organisations, external entities (for example the Auckland Museum Trust Board), advisory panels, and forums; and that the relationship between Auckland Council and each local council should be governed by a three-yearly governance agreement negotiated in the year following each local body election; and that the Auckland Council’s annual report under the Local Government Act 2002 should include separate sections on the operations of the elected Auckland Council and each local council; and that the State Services Commissioner should be asked to assist in developing the job description and design of the performance management framework, and in conducting the initial screening and short-listing for the chief executive; and that the Government should enter into a partnership agreement with the Auckland Council and appoint a senior Government minister as Minister for Auckland; in addition it should appoint a Cabinet Committee for Auckland comprising Ministers with portfolios of significance to Auckland, and the Cabinet Committee should be supported by an officials committee; and that the functions of the Cabinet Committee for Auckland should include a) consulting with the Auckland Council through the Minister for Auckland b) setting priorities for Government spending in Auckland and deciding on the allocation of discretionary funding c) overseeing events of international significance affecting Auckland; and that the Auckland Council should meet regularly with representatives of the neighbouring regions of Northland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty to consider issues of mutual interest; and that the Minister for Auckland should consider convening an annual forum comprising the Auckland Council and relevant interest groups (including regional and territorial councils and business groups) from the Northland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty regions to discuss matters of mutual and topical interest; and that the Establishment Board should review all current council advisory panels and groups and report to the Auckland Council on which current advisory groups should be continued by the Auckland Council and the Establishment Board should appoint an interim Appointments Advisory Panel which will assist the Establishment Board to a) undertake the review of existing advisory panels described above b) prepare draft terms of reference for new and continuing advisory panels c) identify potential candidates for such panels d) recruit interim directors for council-controlled organisations, as necessary.
These are the Royal Commission's recommendations succintly put together into question format just for the referendum.
So what's it gonna be? Yes, or no.
UPDATE: I see over at The Standard this morning they suggest the question is simply: " Do you support the super-city that the Government proposes?". That's worth a post tonight but for now the only referendum Aucklanders will get will be in about October 2011.
The Eleanor Catton Saturday Series: Part II
34 minutes ago