Minister gets message to keep community board

By Wayne Thompson

About 85 Devonport residents last night delivered a strong message to the Government - they want to keep their community board in local government.

They attended a meeting addressed by Cabinet minister and North Shore MP Wayne Mapp.

Dr Mapp said all the MPs for Auckland had assessed the mood in their electorates about the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommendations on local representation.

He had received 100 emails, and 90 per cent of them were in favour of a super city.

"Many of them came from Devonport," he said.

Resident Fraser Gillies said residents were promised streamlining and efficiency in 1989 when their borough council was merged with others to form North Shore City.

"But we have confusion of that process with the time-wasting bureaucratic arrangement that we have now.

"When you centralise you end up with a room full of battery hens and they don't get anywhere fast."

Asked by resident Ruth Jackson "Why the hurry?" Dr Mapp said the commission's process had been extensive and detailed.

The Government wanted legislation by the end of this year before local body elections in 2010.

He said there would be three to four months for public comment while the enabling bill was going through the local government parliamentary select committee process from June.

Devonport Community Board chairman Mike Cohen said another meeting would be held next week when the Government's plan was known.

In the meantime, he would urge residents to write to Local Government Minister Rodney Hide to say that dissolving their community board was the opposite of what they wanted, which was to influence what happened in their community.

Mr Cohen said the Devonport board had taken up its community's concerns on 28 wide-ranging issues in the past three years.

- NZ Herald

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