We have now filed with the Local Government Commission (LGC) the last two requirements for assessment of our proposal as required by the recent High Court decision.

They are:

1 Evidence of community support in the greater Auckland Region (outside of North Rodney where we have already shown over 90% support).
We identified and canvassed 59 Resident and ratepayers groups spread right across the region and although still waiting for some to respond to our soliciting those that have replied (all of which are positive) represent over 20,000 Aucklanders.
In addition we have run an on-line poll which has now received nearly 350 responses only 4 of which have been negative.

2 We have compiled a detailed map showing the precise southern and seaward boundaries of what we call 'North Rodney'. The boundary is that of the old Northern ward of the former Rodney District and basically is from Makarau to Waiwera river mouths with a seaward limit extending approximately half way across the Kaipara Harbour to South head and 3 miles east of the Hauraki gulf coast avoiding the approaches to Auckland shipping lanes.

The senior advisor at the LGC believes that what we have submitted will be sufficient to satisfy what the Commission and the law requires to enable our proposal to progress to assessment. The next scheduled meeting of the LGC on July 14th.

However following our earlier expression of concern to the Minister of Local Government (Hon. Paula Bennett) that we may not get a fair hearing from the present Commissioners in light of our past treatment and win in the High Court, she announced last Wednesday that two new Commissioners are to be appointed including the Chairman who will be Sir Wira Gardiner replacing Basil Morrison.

The Minister has publicly said she is confident that these new Commissioners will “help communities focus on the issues that matter”, “look at the structure of local government and ensure we have a strong regional focus to promote job growth and increased social wellbeing” and “be creative and think seriously about the different kind of local government structures that will help our communities continue to prosper.” We hope this means the new Commission will work with communities such as ours to determine their own local governance arrangements.

These two new appointments will take office on August 1st and LGC staff thought it might delay hearing of our case until the new regime get up to speed. We have protested against any such delay as we believe there are now no grounds left for our proposal not to proceed to be assessed. The incumbent Commission (who are well briefed on our application) will still be in place at the next scheduled meeting on July 14th so we have asked Ms Bennett to intervene if necessary to ensure that no delays occur .

The law requires the Commission to implement reorganisation proposals in a timely manner and as we have waited so long now (over 5 years) to get democratic justice we consider that the right time to separate North Rodney from Auckland would be at the 2016 local government triennial elections.

To achieve this deadline our Proposal would need to be finalised by the end of this year so that will be our target timeline, however optimistic that may seem.

Bill Townson

"Putting the 'local' back into our Local Government"

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