Use all super-city findings, inquiry head urges Govt

By Bernard Orsman

The Government should implement the full findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Auckland Governance, says commission chairman Peter Salmon, QC.

"We think what we are going to come up with is an integrated package and to pick and choose bits from it runs the risk of it not achieving the overall objective of providing the best for Auckland," Mr Salmon said yesterday.

The retired High Court judge and other two commissioners - former public servant Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand, who headed the 2007 inquiry into rates - are to deliver their report on March 31 to the Governor-General, who will pass it to the Government.

The contents of the report are secret, but the Herald expects the commission to make bold proposals for the creation of a super city and election of a single mayor with executive powers.

The "integrated package" will contain recommendations for a new local government structure to serve Auckland for at least the next 50 years.

Among the findings are the form and functions of a super city and what the commission has in mind for the four city councils, three district councils, one regional council and community boards.

The Herald expects the commission to recommend the super city becomes more involved in advocating for the social needs of the region. It will also make recommendations on Maori seats and a transition process before the first elections for the new structure at next year's local body elections.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said he was confident the commission would produce a comprehensive report.

The Government would look at it very seriously, but could not sign up to an entire report before he had seen it.

Mr Hide reiterated that he would be recommending to the Government that it hold the report under wraps until it came up with a response.

Prime Minister John Key told the Herald last month that he expected the Government would make the report public within hours of receiving it to avoid any suggestion of political interference.

A week later, Mr Key said the Government had not decided whether to release it immediately or release it later with "our perspective".

Mr Hide said it was not unreasonable for the Government to read the report first and come up with a response.

The response would take "some days", but not weeks, he said.

- NZ Herald

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