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Enhancing local government for Aucklanders

Date: 22 Mar 2018

In a report released today, the Local Government Commission acknowledges that Auckland Council is making progress to improve local democracy and delivery of services but says that more could be done.

The Commission’s recommendations report to Auckland Council and the Minister of Local Government, Enhancing local government for Aucklanders, arises out of issues identified during the recently completed Auckland local government reorganisation process.

In November 2017, the Commission determined that applications for unitary councils for North Rodney and Waiheke, separate from Auckland, did not meet the statutory criteria. However, during this process the Commissioners heard from different sectors of the community.

“While many spoke of the benefits that came from being part of a large organisation, and the ability for the Council to take a region-wide view, others were concerned that the ‘local’ is being lost from local government,’’ said Commission Chair Sir Wira Gardiner.

He noted that while the local government structure itself is appropriate, “challenges remain’’.

“Armed with the information and feedback received during the reorganisation process, we are in a good position to reflect on what can be done to make local government work better for residents, businesses and communities of Auckland, and in particular in Auckland’s outer areas.

“Good relationships are a key to Auckland’s success and rely on all parties understanding how and where they fit into the local government system, mutual respect and clear communications on all sides,’’ Sir Wira said.

The Commission’s recommendations to Auckland Council include:

  • Further exploring ways to balance regional and local needs without losing the benefits of being part of a large organisation
  • Take steps to improve understanding of council governance arrangements and functions
  • Consider whether the current funding allocation method for locally-driven initiatives is the best way to meet different needs of local areas
  • Consider ways to deal with different service levels across the region due to the decisions of legacy councils
  • Continue to look for ways to improve service delivery for customers.

The Commission’s recommendations are made under Section 31 (1) of the Local Government Act 2002. They are non-binding but the Commission requires a written response from Auckland Council by 22 June 2018.

The report can be found at: Recommendations to Auckland Council report

Simon Cunliffe | Local Government Commission | Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua

DDI +64 4 474 8164| MOB +64 27 809 3833 | Simon.Cunliffe@dia.govt.nz