27 Apr 2009

PM open to changes on Auckland super-city plan

10:11 pm on 27 April 2009

Prime Minister John Key has repeated that he is open to changes being made to the way councillors are elected to the proposed Auckland super-city.

Mr Key says the time to make those changes is when legislation goes to a select committee for consideration. However, he says there is no debate about the need to set up a super-city.

The Government wants Auckland consist of a super-council with one mayor elected by voters and up to 30 community boards.

It has made significant changes to the system recommended by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, which spent over a year considering how the region's 1.4 million residents could be better served by their councils.

A second tier of six elected local councils, proposed by the commission, has been scrapped in favour of community boards, which will have more power than the present community boards, but will not be able to raise their own revenue or hire staff.

Mr Key says he would not die in a ditch over the issue of whether some councillors should be elected at large.

He also left open the prospect he might still be willing to look at the suggestion some seats on the council should be specifically for Maori.