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Mini-councils of future

Howick and Pakuranga Times
MARIANNE KELLY

29 July 2010


SPECULATION is growing about the powers local boards will have in the new super-city with October’s elections fast approaching.

A baseline of responsibilities and functions should be published by the Auckland Transition Agency before then.

The agency says the boards will make decisions on behalf of their communities, and promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their areas.

They will have responsibility for Auckland Council’s non-regulatory functions, adopting a local board plan to reflect priorities, identifying and developing bylaws for the local board area, and proposing them to the council. They will also negotiate with the new council for local services and facilities.

The Howick ward, with a population of 121,700, will have two councillors on the super-city, while the mayor and new council will make regional decisions.

Manukau City Council is drawing up an advocacy plan, which Botany-Clevedon councillor Michael Williams has used as a guide to outline suggested responsibilities for boards.

“Everyone knows we are getting an Auckland Council,” he says. “But people don’t really know how it will work.”

Local boards, he says, will be like mini-councils with significant decision-making powers.

His suggested responsibilities for the boards include:

  • Democracy and engagement: Determine and set out the vision, values, aspirations and priorities of the community, and work to get them achieved.
  • Transport and planning: Advocate how and where growth will occur and be involved in infrastructure planning to deal with traffic congestion, such as the Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (Ameti) eastern busway.
  • Community place shaping: Creating an identity and encouraging community groups to provide services.
  • Arts and culture: Supporting facilities for the arts, dance and cultural, such as Pakuranga’s Te Tuhi and Uxbridge in Howick.
  • Health and social services: Help Government organisations, the new council and the community sector to set priorities.
  • Sports and recreation: Source funding and provide seed funding or facilities.
  • Community safety: Maintain relationships with police, civil defence, neighbourhood support and crime watch patrols.
  • Rating, finance and planning: Plan and provide stewardship to keep rates to a reasonable level. Set aside some of this funding for our local parks and community facilities.
  • Business and economy: Assistance with the beautification of main streets and town centres, parking issues, and tourist and citizen information.
  • Events and civic functions: Responsibility for national public day functions, festivals and parades.
  • Heritage and environment: Identify and protect heritage buildings, trees and features, and care for beaches, streams and native bush.
  • Youth and education: Advocating for and helping establish facilities for young people.
  • Parks and open spaces: Make decisions about passive recreation spaces, beaches, streetscapes and plantings.
  • Community facilities: Set priorities and service levels for libraries, pools, community halls and meeting facilities.

Source: http://www.times.co.nz/cms/news/2010/07/minicouncils_of_future.php

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