16 Jan 2009

Bold steps ahead for Auckland - Hide

6:10 am on 16 January 2009

The Minister for Local Government says drastic changes are afoot for Auckland as a result of the Royal Commission into Governance there.

The New Zealand Herald reported on Thursday that the Royal Commission will recommend a single council stretching from Wellsford to Pukekohe.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide won't confirm such a plan but says it is clear that something had to be done.

Mr Hide says there seems to be widespread agreement that bold steps are needed to fix Auckland's problems.

The Royal Commission is due to report to the Government by 31 March. If this deadline is reached, Mr Hide says there's no reason the recommendations could not be implemented before the next local elections in 2010.

Auckland currently comprises a regional council, four city and three district councils and 30 community boards.

Their total operating expenditure was approximately $1.7 billion for the year ending June 2007, according to the Royal Commission's website.