Carter: City not so super and no more powerful

By Bernard Orsman

The Government is not creating a Super City for Auckland and the new council structure will have no more power than any other large territorial authority, Associate Minister of Local Government John Carter has said.

Under the plan, the region's eight councils will be abolished next year and a single "large local authority" to be known as the Auckland Council created for 1.4 million Aucklanders. Underneath the council will be 20 to 30 "local boards" - a term coined by the Government.

Questioned on the extra powers planned for the Auckland council mayor - the ability to appoint the deputy mayor, chairs of committees and propose the budget and strategic direction - Mr Carter said the powers were very minor.

"If anybody suggests now that the mayor doesn't have an influence over who is the deputy mayor in any territorial authority or has some influence over who is the chair of the committees, they delude themselves," Mr Carter said.

This appears to be the first time a minister has distanced the Government from the term Super City, certainly since Prime Minister John Key and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide announced their plans on April 7. The plans have met a mixed response, with National MPs holding meetings across the region to gauge public feedback.

Submissions on a Government bill setting out the broad outline of the Super City structure closed on Friday.

Mr Key, who this month called Auckland City Mayor John Banks a "Super Mayor", yesterday predicted a "good solution" for Auckland.

Mr Key sensed the outcome would be a regionwide focus and maintaining the uniqueness of communities.

Mr Carter said people seemed to accept there would be one authority to look after matters at a regional level, but wanted to see the grassroots structure responding to local issues.

Labour's Auckland issues spokesman Phil Twyford said: "Labour has repeatedly said it supports a unitary authority for Auckland, but that the Government's plans for the second tier were toothless and would deny communities the voice they require."

The Auckland governance legislation committee is due to start hearing public submissions in Auckland on Monday.

- NZ Herald

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