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Council push for Maori seats

BY LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 28/04/2009

SUPER DUO: John Key and Rodney Hide are meeting Auckland’s mayors.

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Maori representation on the new Auckland supercity council needs to be considered further and resolved, say Shore councillors.

The government rejected the Royal Commission’s recommendation for three Maori seats and suggested instead a poll could be held at the October 2010 elections.

Maori seats are one of the issues North Shore City Council plans to push as the government develops a new governance structure for Auckland.

Councillors also want to see:

• The functions of the proposed Auckland Council clearly defined

• All councillors elected by ward (the government proposed 12 by wards and eight at large)

• Council wards and local boards based on communities of interest to enable grassroots democracy

• A review of the supercity mayor’s powers

• Water and transport infrastructure in public ownership.

About 70 people attended a meeting in Browns Bay last week to discuss the government’s Auckland governance proposals.

The meeting was organised by the Torbay and Mairangi Bay mainstreet committees and deputy mayor Julia
Parfitt and Grant Gillon spoke about the proposals.

Mrs Parfitt says about 75 percent of people at the meeting opposed the creation of a supercity because of concerns about loss of identity.

"People feel like they’re being rushed into it and they don’t know what it fully means or how it will affect them."

Mrs Parfitt says there was a call for a second meeting and talk of a possible protest march.

Meanwhile, mayor Andrew Williams met Prime Minister John Key on Friday.

Mr Williams proposed the prime minister could keep his 2008 Local Government policy promises to Auckland by accepting a ward system for all elected seats on the new Auckland Council.

"Now with the election over, I have great faith that the prime minister will not abandon his promises to local communities in favour of ‘one voice’ for Auckland," he says.

"On the one hand, his policies say communities must have a voice around the council table and be appropriately represented and consulted, and on the other hand his plan is for Auckland to have only ‘one voice’ and little or no representation."

Mr Williams and Mrs Parfitt also met Local Government Minister Rodney Hide last week.

Mr Williams says he raised the issue of delaying local body elections by six months so the government didn’t feel pressure to make changes by October 2010.

He says it would be "complete nonsense" for the proposed local boards to be responsible only for dog control and graffiti.

They need to determine issues like parking, roading, traffic and planning issues, he says.

Service centres are also needed throughout Auckland so people can lodge building permits, access files and
get local issues addressed without driving to the Auckland CBD, says Mr Williams.

But Mr Hide says the government is on track to introduce the changes by October next year.

Mr Hide says the public is supportive of one mayor and one city and the government has listened to a call to improve local representation.

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He says the powers and responsibilities of local boards are an area that will develop.

Mr Hide says he’s committed to ensuring the local boards have "proper jobs".

Supercity to be discussed

Reidents of Milford, Castor Bay and Takapuna are coming together in a meeting on Friday to tackle the government’s Auckland supercity proposal.

Milford Residents Association chairman Peter Carter says the joint public meeting will be attended by North Shore MP Wayne Mapp and mayor Andrew Williams.

It will be from 7.30pm at the Milford School on Shakespeare Rd.

The meeting is organised by the Milford group, the Castor Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Takapuna Residents Association.

- North Shore Times

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