Super City CCOs: Good and bad facets to business units

Bernard Orsman reports on the seven Super City CCOs

Waterfront Development Agency

This CCO has the job of implementing a vision for the Auckland waterfront and responsibility for master-planning the waterfront.

There is a lot to be said for putting the hotch-potch of ownership and governance of publicly owned land on the waterfront into a single entity to open up more areas for public access and oversee the economic potential.

But given the political sensitivities around issues like Queens Wharf and the Tank Farm, questions are being asked about the broad reach of this CCO and whether the red fence will not be the only public barrier.

Auckland Transport

This mega-CCO will be responsible, but not directly accountable, to ratepayers for spending more than half of their rates - about $650 million - on everything from major roading projects to public transport services to fixing broken footpaths. It will not handle state highways or railways.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce pushed the idea through the Cabinet against the advice of Treasury and other Government departments. Mayors, councillors and community boards say transport is too much part of political life in Auckland to leave to a handful of business types.

Watercare Services

The existing bulk water and wastewater supplier is being handed the retail arm of councils to create a "vertically integrated" CCO to provide all water services for 1.4 million Aucklanders.

It is expected to lead to better integrated planning and delivery of Auckland's water needs, which faces huge challenges. Fortunately, for ratepayers, the CCO must consult with the Auckland Council on pricing. Thousands of Aucklanders face price hikes moving from seven different pricing regimes to one.

Council Investments

This CCO will hold and manage the various councils' stakes in Auckland Airport, Ports of Auckland, financial assets held by the investment arm of the Auckland Regional Council and Waitakere City Council's interests in Prime West Studios in Henderson.

It will have the job of maximising returns on these assets, but only the Auckland Council will be able to sell assets after public consultation.

Economic development, tourism and events

Promoting tourism and big events for Auckland and improving economic growth are the goals for this CCO.

It will oversee public spending on the Rugby World Cup and work with business to develop the marine, film, bio-science and other industries.

Major Regional Facilities

The region's public stadiums and events facilities will be pulled together to achieve better co-ordination.

North Harbour Stadium, North Shore Events Centre, Mt Smart Stadium, Manukau's Telstra Clear Events Centre and Waitakere's Trusts Stadium, plus the Bruce Mason Theatre and The Edge will be integrated into this CCO.

So, too, will the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Museum, Motat, Maritime Museum and Auckland Observatory.

Smaller venues will continue to be managed by the Auckland Council and local boards.

Property Holdings

This CCO will hold all council property that is not used for parks, reserves or service purposes, such as libraries and community halls, and land held by the Waterfront Development Agency.

The CCO will be expected to show commercial expertise to identify opportunities and use private sector capital where appropriate.

- NZ Herald

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