Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Watchdog gives the Super City thumbs up so far

Auditor-General says change has gone smoothly despite potential for problems.

Super City views over Devonport, Mt Victoria, towards Rangitoto Island. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Super City views over Devonport, Mt Victoria, towards Rangitoto Island. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A lot is going well for the Super City after two years but it is still a work in progress with significant challenges, says the Auditor-General.

Yesterday, Lyn Provost presented her first "outsider's" view of the issues and challenges facing the most significant public sector reforms of recent years.

She said the scale of change from eight councils to the new Auckland Council was huge, but despite plenty of potential for things to go wrong the transition had gone smoothly.

Interviews with more than 50 people working for and with the council found everyone from Mayor Len Brown and chief executive Doug McKay down was committed to uniting to making the reforms work.

The Auckland Plan, a 30-year blueprint, had provided a coherent strategic regional direction and recognition of the city's national significance.

"However, the council is still a work in progress and significant challenges remain," Ms Provost said.

She singled out tensions between the governing body of the mayor and 20 councillors and the 21 local boards.

The 76-page report also said the council-controlled organisation (CCO) structure was a good model but tensions between the council and the seven CCOs were "clearly growing".

Plans for a "full review" of CCOs after next year's election were noted.

Despite concerns from some right-leaning councillors about debt, she said plans to raise council and CCO debt from $4 billion in 2011 to $12.7 billion in 2022 "appears prudent".

Mr Brown said the report reinforced that the transition had been well managed.

Progress report:

• Auditor-General's take on the Super City
• The scale of change was huge and unprecedented in the public sector.
• A lot is going well but the council is a work in progress.
• Tension between the governing body and local boards.
• The council-controlled organisation structure is a good model, but tension is growing with council.
• Councillors and local board members have a "wall" of reading material.

- NZ Herald

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