Grassroots democracy wants a greater voice in the Super City, a Herald survey of local boards shows.
"We need further substantial delegations, funding and staffing," said Hibiscus and Bays chairwoman Julia Parfitt.
The former North Shore deputy mayor summed up a common view - local boards are showing a can-do attitude, but want more resources and greater autonomy from the Auckland Council governing body to get on with the job.
Of the 21 local boards, 15 responded to the Herald survey of how things were tracking after six months.
The survey asked how the model was working at the grassroots level, whether it was living up to the promise of empowering communities and how boards were getting on with the Auckland Council governing body and council-controlled organisations.
Asked to score these issues out of 10, 11 of the boards gave their performance an average of 6.5, the Auckland Council 6, the CCOs 5.7 and the lowest score of 5.5 to whether the model was working for communities. Four local boards did not give ratings.
Orakei chairwoman Desley Simpson gave the highest score of 9 on the question of how the model was working for her community.
"The feedback has been encouraging. We meet regularly with business and residents' associations, holding public consultation meetings and open public forums at board meetings ... It certainly helps having an experienced board," she said.
Waitakere Ranges chairwoman Denise Yates gave the lowest score of 2 on the question of relations with CCOs. Apart from a good relationship with Auckland Transport, CCOs "existed out there in a vacuum on their own", she said.
Of the seven CCOs, Auckland Transport received the most favourable feedback. After some public run-ins with the transport body, Albert-Eden chairman Peter Haynes said the CCO was now making a real effort to be responsive.
Another bugbear for local boards is the so-called "co-governance" model between the Auckland Council governing body and local boards.
Manurewa chairman Daniel Newman said the Auckland Council had been slow to embrace the idea of co-governance.
"A lot of the third- and fourth-tier managers, as well as managers in the engine room of the council, see boards as a bit of a 'box-ticking' exercise," he said.
Waitemata chairman Shale Chamber said the focus of the Super City was still largely on the governing body and it was time local matters were delegated to local boards.
"Local boards have fewer powers than the former community boards ... [They] do not yet have any bylaw or regulatory delegations," he said.
The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommended the governing body focus on the big picture and delegate "significant" local decision-making powers and functions to local boards.
The Government, however, stopped short of setting out the roles and functions of local boards in legislation and left it to the Auckland Council to delegate powers to the boards.
Mayor Len Brown said the council was working directly with local boards on what their roles and responsibilities should be.
"This will lead to more clarity as the new structure beds down."
The governing body, he said, had just completed the first budget round with local boards, which "gave me great optimism about the goodwill being shown on both sides and the path ahead".
"The council now needs to back that up with better resources and delegations."
Council chief executive Doug McKay said he and the mayor met local board chairmen and chairwomen every month.
Mr McKay said he was listening to their concerns - and started fine-tuning a shared-services model for the boards. This was consistent with an organisation-wide policy of not making changes in the first six months.
"This is all new for my staff too. The local board is the new element and it doesn't come naturally to people who have been in local government in Auckland before," he said. "This is a journey of years, not months."
SURVEY RESPONSESBy Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman Email Bernard