21 Nov 2009

Community feedback sought on super-city boundaries

7:33 am on 21 November 2009

Rodney District Mayor Penny Webster says it is up to the community to tell leaders what they think of new ward and board boundaries proposed for Auckland's super-city.

The Local Government Commission revealed proposed boundaries for the super-city on Friday, opting for fewer local boards than previously suggested.

The commission is proposing 12 wards; eight having two councillors each and four with one councillor, making up the total of 20 representatives for the super council.

Nineteen local community boards will sit within the greater wards, comprising between five and nine members each, making a total of 126 board members around the region.

The Government had recommended that the commission create between 20 and 30 local boards. However, commission chair Sue Piper says fewer boards mean a more focused community approach.

The commission proposes that the new Rodney ward, which will elect one councillor to the super-council, be made up of all of the current Rodney District except the Hibiscus Coast and a small area on the west coast.

Rodney Mayor Penny Webster says she is interested in feedback from the community on this proposal, and the structure of the board will also be looked at.

Meanwhile, a group opposed to the inclusion of north Rodney in the super-city is calling for the Government to hold a binding poll to re-address the changing of the city's northern boundary.

The Northern Action Group wanted the northern part of Rodney to form a new council with Kaipara District.

Spokesperson Bill Townson says the commission has not got the power to make the changes and the group is asking the Government to let residents decide.

'Attempt made' to recognise communities

The proposed super-city boundaries show an attempt has been made to recognise different communities, a South Auckland community leader believes.

Mangere Community Board chair Leatuli Peter Skelton says the structure will give people in South Auckland a chance to vote people in to represent them.

Mr Skelton says the community board boundaries will allow people to be represented by councillors who understand their needs. But at ward level, Pacific Islanders will have to choose candidates with care if they want a voice, so votes are not split.

The bigger challenge is to ensure that Auckland's Pacific population gets out to vote, he says.