Auckland Super City bill passes

The first stages of setting up a single council in Auckland had a fiery passage into law over the weekend and the criticism is still coming in.

A marathon session of Parliament ended on Saturday evening after the Government figured out a way to short circuit the Opposition's delaying tactics.

Labour dragged out the debate - known as filibustering - on two bills to set up a single council in Auckland, but the Government introduced its own amendments to gazump Labour's efforts.

The first bill was passed into law and sets up the concept of a single council and a transition agency to manage the change, while a second, which outlines broad detail about the council, was sent to a special select committee for submissions.

The Government is expected to announce who will run the agency in the coming week.

Among other things the agency has the power to veto local bodies in the region and contracts worth more than $20,000. As a result, Auckland City Council's city development committee says it has had to defer a $21 million waste collection contract.

Committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar told Radio New Zealand the $20,000 limit was too low and he hoped the transition agency would not nitpick over every little item of council spending.

Another committee member, Glenda Fryer, said many things councils did would be brought to a grinding halt.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Sua William Sio took issue with the Government taking out adverts to highlight public meetings on the issue.

Mr Sio said the advert gave the false impression Aucklanders were being consulted on the reorganisation of their local government.

- NZPA

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