Prime Minister John Key has defended Social Minister Paula Bennett speaking out over her concerns about the Auckland super city.

He said Ms Bennett was making comments about the scope of local boards and that was a "legitimate debate that needs to be had".

Ms Bennett told reporters she thought the Government did not have the super city "quite right".

"I am a huge supporter of the unitary council and what we are doing there, a huge supporter of moving Auckland forward and I just think we are hearing what the community are saying about some of those smaller groups and what we need to do there and the local boards."

She said she wanted to make sure the community has "got a voice, got to make sure that local stuff that is happening locally is happening".

The local voice would not be lost as long as the Government kept "what's happening on the ground as really important".

"My Westies are pretty fiery and like you to know what they think."

Mr Key said the Government had made it clear its preferred structure was a super city with 20 to 30 local boards.

"But the scope of those boards and what they actually do has not been determined at this time."

Ms Bennett will have an "active voice" in deciding that, Mr Key said.

He said the Government would make a decision on local boards "soon".

"Certainly some of what they (boards) will do will be small community programmes and social programmes which are very important to communities.

"Our intention is to make sure we have a good operating structure in Auckland."

Different areas in Auckland have different views of what is important and "making sure that we preserve what people think is very important in their community is very important to the Government".

Labour leader Phil Goff said there were "enormous problems" with the Government's proposal for the super city.

"Labour's position is broadly to support the concept of having a strong regional government to deal with the regional issues. I think that is really important.

"But to keep the local in local government you have to have a ward system, that is the only fair way of ensuring fair and balanced representation across the city."

He said having 30 community boards with no power was totally irrelevant, "you need six or maybe a dozen quite strong local councils under the region wide Auckland council".

Mr Goff said he wanted to see the Maori seats "in some form".

"We are relaxed about having Maori seats provided every vote is equal in New Zealand."

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said some Auckland residents' water bills might go up under a new user-pays system.

"This may create some challenges to the public acceptability of the reforms," Mr Hide said in a Cabinet paper released by the Government.

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