John Landrigan.<' />
Live in our eastern suburbs and you'd need 86 votes to have the same say as these guys, writes John Landrigan.
Meet the most well-represented citizens in the new Auckland - and, in the suburbs formerly known as Howick, Pakuranga and Botany, the worst.
The Local Government Commission has set the new Auckland regional authority's boundaries.
As predicted, Great Barrier Island will get a five-member local board for its population of 820 people. That's one board member for every 164 people.
The worst? Te Irirangi, the new name for Howick-Pakuranga-Botany. It has nine board members for 128,100 people, or one person to represent 14,233 citizens. Put another way, 1 Barrier vote = 86 eastern votes.
On the Barrier, Judy "Myrtle" Hale is a fifth-generation islander. Her great-grandfather ran the local kauri timber yard. She's concerned residents may be rated off the land and the island opened up to developers.
"I'd not like it to become too overpopulated or have high-rise buildings. Waiheke," she says, "is hideous."
Maude McLean, who's lived on the island for 10 years, works at the Claris store. Initially, she didn't want to speak to The Aucklander. Later, we had trouble stopping her - a common theme with the locals.
"I think the super-city might be like the [build-up to the] millennium. All bloody terrible, and then nothing
happens."
But she thinks it will be hard for someone based in Auckland to understand the views of Barrier folks. "John Banks came to our Santa parade in a three-piece suit. He looked like an absolute prat."
Residents here generate their own power, collect their own water, have no street lighting, few paved streets and no home rubbish collection.
"We're hearing a lot of apathy," says Maude. "No one has any idea what is happening ... If it's going to be run efficiently I think great. If not, then it could be disastrous."
The trouble is, says Maude, is the island has to be tacked on to someone else if it is to survive.
"We'd get sweet bugger all done on the islands rate-take."
Stess Guthrie and Karen Cook join us in front of the store. Stess has been coming to the island from the East Cape since the 1970s and now lives here permanently.
"It will probably mean our rates will go up again," she predicts. "Already under Auckland City, things have changed. We have a parking warden on the Barrier.
"It's progress. It's like a runaway horse and you can't rein the bastard in. It could get worse."
But Karen reckons everything will sort itself out in six years after the changes are implemented.
Under the new structure, the region will be divided into 13 wards. Throughout the Auckland region there will be 21 local boards.
The commission decisions are available at: www.lgc.govt.nz