Supercity rejection

Papakura mayor Calum Penrose is furious that a resident has had her supercity submission rejected by the select committee.

He describes the rejection as "unacceptable" and "a slap in the face".

The Papakura resident contacted Mr Penrose after she’d received a letter saying her submission did not address matters contained in the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill and would not be considered.

The select committee started hearing submissions in Auckland on Monday.

"Her submission was in favour of retaining local democracy, on issues of financial accountability and on retaining local identity, all matters contained in the bill," Mr Penrose says.

"The wording might not have been in the style of the bill but it addressed the issues. We want to know exactly why the committee thinks these matters are outside the scope of the bill because the council’s submission also covers these matters."

Mr Penrose says he’ll be concerned if submissions have been rejected on issues of style or language.

Submitters he has spoken to are "good people, genuinely concerned about Papakura losing its identity and the effect of the supercity on communities across Auckland".

"We would like to know if others in the district have also had their submissions rejected and if so on what grounds because we are determined to advocate on behalf of the people of the district."

And there seems to be no appeal process when a submission is rejected, he says.

"This is just unacceptable, a slap in the face. The government has always said that people could have their say through the select committee process. Where is that commitment now?"

Mr Penrose says he’ll write to the committee chairman, associate local government minister John Carter, and to local MP Judith Collins asking them to investigate how submissions are evaluated and why a submission that addresses matters contained in the bill has been rejected.

"The message I get is that the select committee apparently does not care what Aucklanders think about this crucial bill. I am calling for all Papakura residents who understand what is at stake to talk to Ms Collins, email the minister of local government or the prime minister. Make a noise about this abuse of power before it is too late."

Papakura Courier