Govt's super-council leaflets anger mayor

The Government has gone on the offensive in its push for an Auckland Council, according to The Aucklander.

Letterboxes in parts of the region were hit by a leaflet drop this week outlining the Government's decisions.

The glossy pamphlet presents the decisions as foregone conclusions and does not invite public submissions, The Aucklander reports on its website today.

Under the contentious heading of "Representation", it says: "The 20 councillors on the Auckland Council will be made up of eight councillors elected at large, and 12 councillors elected from wards. The local boards will advocate for their local communities and set policy for local issues such as dog control."

North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams reacted angrily to news of the pamphlet drop this week.

He said: "Boy, that must be costing a bob. They've already spent $4.2 million on a Royal Commission that they've tossed aside. I thought this process was about trying to save money."

Mr Williams has attended three public meetings on the issue this week and says there is widespread concern that the public is being locked out of discussions.

"The Government is alientating the populace and, from what we are seeing, there will be a pushback," he said.

"Maybe these pamphlets were printed a week or so ago before the Government began to hear of the unrest. I think they are just now starting to realise how strongly people feel."

Mr Williams says a common concern is the Government decision to have eight Auckland councillors elected "at large" by votes counted across the entire region.

"That leaves these seats open to powerfully-financed candidates who could then control the Auckland Council. In that case, it would be a total power grab."

The Aucklander last week advised citizens and ratepayers to "bomb Parliament" with emails to Auckland's local National MPs and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide on the "biggest issue in the history of our region."

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