One council, mayor, tipped for region

By Bernard Orsman

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance will deliver its report to the Government tomorrow - six days ahead of the deadline of March 31.

The Herald expects the report to recommend a bold shake-up of local government, including the creation of a single super city council and single mayor for the region.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said he expected the report would be made public within a few days.

"We are going to have initial briefings from the officials on Wednesday and Thursday, after which the Minister of Local Government [Rodney Hide] will issue a statement setting out a timetable for both the release of the report and the Government's response to it," Mr Key said.

Commission chairman, retired High Court judge Peter Salmon, QC, said the commission was in a position to report early and it fitted the Government's own programme.

"I am happy with the report. I think it contains a very good prescription for Auckland," Mr Salmon said.

Mr Salmon would not divulge the prescription, except to say that its overall thrust reflected the views of the majority of the 3537 public submissions.

A super city will stretch 140km from Pukekohe in the south to Wellsford in the north.

With 1.4 million people, it will be the largest city under one council in Australasia.

It is not known what the commission has in mind for the region's four city councils, three district councils, one regional council and community boards.

One option is to abolish the existing councils for smaller "community councils" with elected leaders.

The commission could also recommend two or more Maori seats for the super city.

The commission's other members are former public servant Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand, who headed the 2007 inquiry into rates.

- NZ Herald

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