Now this is an actual loophole: Auckland City may fall apart

A real loophole, one which may be able to be used to attempt to rein in out of control council.

Less than six years into the life of the country’s biggest local body, Aucklanders are being asked for new ideas on the way the city is governed.

The Local Government Commission has been required by legislation to make the move, deciding debate on a breakaway move by Auckland’s rural north needs to be widened because it would affect the entire region.

Aucklanders will be given just 40 days starting from the middle of this week to propose alternatives to the current structure of Auckland Council, which was established in late 2010 and faces elections in six months.

The decision to throw open the debate spun out of a move by the city’s northernmost rural community to attempt to break away and form a North Rodney Council.

The commission decided that would affect all of Auckland, and the law required all Aucklanders to be consulted on how they thought the city should be run.

Read the full decision by the Local Government Commission (PDF, 100KB)

Mayor Len Brown said the debate was unhelpful and due to a gap in legislation. He hoped that either the commission or the government would reject it.

What is unhelpful is a lame duck mayor.

“It’s completely contrary to the super city legislation,” he said.

“If you’re going to set it up to fail by leaving a loophole, that any aggrieved community around Auckland can jump through and open up a Pandora’s box for a whole range of other applications, then what was the point of going through the change?”

The commission said there was demonstrable support in Auckland for local body reorganisation. That included a telephone poll of 237 residents, and what the commission called media reports suggesting some level of discontent.

A poll pf 237 residents? That is pathetic. The margin of error would be enormous.

I don’t think there will be any changes. Our best hope for change is to elect a mayor and a council who will practice fiscal prudence.


– Radio NZ


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  • shykiwibloke

    Two faced lot: should apply the same measure to other rights the council and govt persist in eroding.
    “If you’re going to set it up to fail by leaving a loophole, that any aggrieved community around Auckland can jump through and open up a Pandora’s box for a whole range of other applications, then what was the point of going through the change?”

    I don’t recall Len saying this about his planners intensification affecting private property rights. I don’t recall Govt saying this in defence of people’s rights to cut down their own trees or build their own house.

  • Gazza

    From memory I read an article stating that residents on Waiheke Island wanted to break from the Auckland Council as well….

    • StreuthCobber

      Yep Our Waiheke has also filed for seperation. ( or Interesting. The small and outer feel unrepresented and charged for services we don’t see or use. Mayor Len needs to take this on board even if they don’t actually deamalgamate. I think it’s mainly a management issue. We have separate local boards and I’d like to see more financial transparency in terms of a more comprehensive detailed annual report breakdown on what’s being spent and received by each board. INcluding the regional and development contribution budgets (stormwater, and AT and ATEED) We also need asset lists by local board. We should see an asset list on the the value and state of our council assets by board each term. So we can see what’s been spent and what we got and value and outcomes.

      • Gazza

        ….good luck with the fight!

  • The greatest failure of the amalgamation is the lack of value for money. Rates have risen many times more than inflation for most residents, yet services are suffering. Bringing a bloated administration back under control has to be the first priority of any new Mayor and Councillors. Such terrible waste can not be allowed to continue. I hope that WO will endorse a team committed to sensible local government this coming election.

  • Orca

    The point is Len, that people wouldn’t be trying to find loopholes or other ways to de-amalgamate, if the promises made about amalgamation had been kept in the first place. We were told that the supercity would dramatically reduce the administration costs and staffing levels because there would be only one Council organisation, in place of six. This would result in significant rates reductions. Instead we got a much more bloated administration, with more staff than the previous six councils put together, and rates skyrocketed.

    We were also supposed to have more say in Council affairs, with better consultation. The reality was that all community boards were immediately axed, and major unwanted changes such as the unitary plan were railroaded through with no real consultation. And Len, consultation does not mean telling people what you are going to do to them, and how they are going to like it or else.

    • Mr_Blobby

      “Len, consultation does not mean telling people what you are going to do to them, and how they are going to like it or else.”

      His most common quote was most Aucklanders tell me that they want us ti get on with the job of whatever the topic is. The result is obvious when you are interviewing yourself in front of the mirror.

  • Mr_Blobby

    It is very much a discussion we have to have.

    It is called democracy.

    The super City has been found wanting, to put it bluntly it is not fit for purpose.

    Len Brown may well think it is “unhelpful”. But there needs to be a regular revue of these things and the public (rate payers) has every right to have some input into the

    “media reports suggesting some level of discontent.” Understatement of the year I have not found anybody with anything possitive to say about our out of control Council.

    Expect this to be rigorously resisted by the Council officers, who have a vested interest in never being held to account publicly or privately.

  • Mr_Blobby

    How about a proper poll with proper and relevant questions on what Aucklanders really think and feel about the Super City.

    Not going to happen, why, because we already know the result.

    The demarcation lines will be very clear, with those funding it the, rate payers. wanting change. And the HNZ tenants wanting more benefits.

    • MaryLou

      Yes, and that’s quite high – I think 61% of all rentals in Auckland?

      Good voter base. If they bother to vote.

  • Mine it,Drill it,Sell it.

    People you need to vote especially everyone north of the Harbour Bridge.You will be paying shortly through your taxes and rates for a tunnel under the CBD that you will never see or use.Why or how someone as thick and nasty as Brown received a second term is only on the account of low voter participation.

    Total Returns Auckland
    2010 = 51%
    2013 = 36%
    -15% Change

  • LesleyNZ

    Could this be an opportunity for the North Shore to join Rodney and break away – to draw a line along the Waitemata Harbour and become a new city north of Auckland Central. I HOPE SO. This super city stuff has done very little for my area on the North Shore. The local councillors are too busy sorting out other Auckland problems and my local board is no longer relevant or has the personal touch it once had. Services and maintenance have gone backwards. The parks and reserves and streets are not being maintained to an acceptable level as Len and his cronies have cut the budget.Rodney Hide’s idea of a super dooper city has not worked out.

    • MrHippo

      The North Shore is just used as an ATM for the super city. It gets nothing in return. The old NSCC days saw a degree more prudence and rigorous examination of spending and projects that served a purpose and didn’t pander to activist lobby groups.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Loophole or lifebelt? The super duper city is a failed experiment and now people have the chance to restore some sensibility.

  • OneTrack

    Time to break the city up now and be done with it. We might be about to get rid of Looney now, but there is always another leftist ready to step up and spend other peoples money. As Leighton said this morning, the biggest failing is that there is no competition between councils as there was before the amalgamation. In those days, Lens damage was limited to South Auckland and people could escape if necessary.

  • Raibert

    About time! Now let’s have an informed discussion of the alternatives. Between the government and Len’s Council, Auckland has been stuffed. No other area in the country has shown any support for an amalgamation like the one forced on Aucklanders. I’m sure there would be more interest in this debate now we have had to endure 6 years of the grandiose behaviour of our local body politicians and officials.
    Having said this I don’t believe we will see anything like an open debate unless the government feels threatened comming up to election year and even then they will try to dilute it.