27 Jun 2009

Changes possible in super-city structure - Govt

11:42 am on 27 June 2009

The Government insists that real changes could be made to the Auckland super-city as submissions closed on Friday on the proposed shape of the new council.

Hundreds of submissions about the council, which will replace eight local bodies late next year, have been lodged with Parliament's select committee on Auckland Governance.

The chairman of the select committee, Associate Local Government Minister John Carter, says a lot can change.

"Apart from the fact that there will be one unitary authority, everything else is is on the table," he says.

Mr Carter says the parliamentary select committee will spend most of July in Auckland hearing many of the submissions and will also holds discussions on marae.

Councils make submissions

Waitakere City Council wants Maori seats included on the Auckland super-council, as well as on councils throughout New Zealand.

Waitakere council also supports the single transferrable vote as a way of electing councillors and the super-city's mayor.

North Shore City council says all councillors should be elected from wards rather than at large and it fears the super-city mayor may have too many powers.

Auckland City and Manukau City councils held final votes on what their submissions will contain on Thursday night.

Rodney District Council says it does not want to be part of the super-council.

Warning against redundancy payments

Auditor-General Kevin Brady has warned that legislation on the Auckland super-city needs to make sure staff who change jobs to the new council do not get redundancy payments.

Mr Brady says a number of poor practices occurred during the previous large scale local government reorganisation in 1989 and he does not want to see them happen again.

He says at that time, people went from one chief executive job to another and still got redundancy.

Mr Brady says the matter should be dealt with by spelling it out clearly in legislation.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide told Morning Report that legislation to avoid such redundancy payments is in place, and will be part of the third Parliamentary bill on the super-city.