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Supercity fears emerge

BY ROMY UDANGA
Last updated 05:00 23/04/2009
Photo: ROMY UDANGA
CALL FOR PEOPLE POWER: Donald Dunn says people in Manukau need to band together and act independently of Manukau City Council to ensure their voices against “super Auckland” are heard by the government.

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A group of Manukau residents is organising a civic action group for people to raise their fears about Auckland governance.

The Manukau City Council has been holding public meetings across the city to explain the issues surrounding the supercity plan.

But councillors and council officials say they can only do so much to bring people’s concerns to the government’s attention.

After one meeting in Mangere last week some residents, headed by Donald Dunn, stayed behind to form the action group.

Mr Dunn says that since anything the council advocates is seen as "protecting their patch" residents adamantly opposed to the "demise of Manukau city" should band together as a civic group and "agitate for their rights".

"Several people wanted the council to tell the government to hold a referendum but the council is in no position to support that. So we will have to make those voices as well as the voices of others heard."

Mr Dunn, who is president of Grey Power Auckland, says he will wear his "citizen’s hat to see to it that a group is organised to oppose the whole concept".

"I have been residing in Mangere East for more than 41 years. We may be a small portion of this community but we feel strongly against the government’s Auckland governance proposal.

"The government proposing it and us paying for it is reason enough for me to go out in the street. Why should ratepayers pay for something we don’t want?"

He’s been joined by Mangere Bridge residents Laurel Sutherland, Tina Sala and Annette Ellice.

Ms Sutherland says she has "serious objections to the process being rushed" and wants to know why the government is ramming it down Auckland’s throat.

"It makes me unhappy and uneasy to hear that they will rush legislation through. We were already sidelined in the Royal Commission process.

"For many people living here English is their second language and they are not comfortable airing their views at meetings. This group will see to it that their voices are heard."

Ms Sala says she is happy with Manukau being on its own and she doesn’t see any point in it being governed by an Auckland Council.

"Why join an Auckland supercity when Manukau is itself a supercity? There is no way we can put across our viewpoints in an Auckland supercity. Little communities will be ignored," Ms Sala says.

Ms Ellice says she too is against the Auckland supercity and wants "our own Manukau city and have our own voice for our community".

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She says if there is need to "march down to Epsom" to let Local Government Minister Rodney Hide know "what we feel, then let’s find out where he lives and tell him".

"It’s time we do something and for people to join in so we can have a more powerful voice."

The group has invited Manukau residents "wherever they may live in the city" to its initial meeting on April 28, 3pm at 197 Buckland Rd, Mangere East.

Mr Dunn can be reached on 275-7518.

- Manukau Courier

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