Help with supercity submissions at hand

If you blinked you might have missed it. The third bill dealing with the Auckland supercity was released by the government just before Christmas.

People wanting to make a submission only have until February 12 to get them in so savepapakura.com is holding a public meeting next Monday.

The group will use the meeting to help people write their submissions and explain what they believe are the bill's key points.

Spokeswoman Janet Phare says the select committee process for the second bill was "quite pedantic" and initially rejected many public submissions as "form submissions".

"However after approaches from the savepapakura.com group many of the Papakura submissions were finally accepted by the committee," she says.

"We understand the select committee is going to be a little more relaxed about the format of submissions this time so we want to encourage as many people as possible to write submissions.

"This is about the future of Papakura, the democratic process and the ability of people to have a say about their community."

While the bill is presented as completing the legislative framework for ongoing local government arrangements in Auckland and provides detail on matters such as employment transition for local government staff, several aspects raise concerns.

Mrs Phare says the structure of the proposed council-controlled organisations allows for little input by elected representatives, there is the risk of water and wastewater services being privatised from 2015 and perhaps most worrying of all is a proposed voting
system that would allow someone to have a vote in each of the local board areas simply because they have rateable property in that area.

"This could have a big impact for areas such as Papakura where there are high levels of rental properties and very much goes against the democratic notion of 'one person, one vote'."

The latest bill is also silent on the functions of the local boards, she says.

The group is planning to hold another workshop closer to the submission closing date.

The meeting on January 18 starts at 7pm in the Accent Point function room. For more information see savepapakura.com.

- Imogen Neale

Papakura Courier