In May last year, the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Auckland Governance began public hearings in the concert chamber at the Pukekohe War Memorial Town Hall.

Fourteen months later, the Barry Court Accommodation and Event Centre in Parnell is the backdrop today for the start of public hearings on the Government's Super City plan - a super Auckland Council, a super mayor, 20 to 30 virtually powerless local boards and no place for Maori at the table.

Last year, former High Court judge Peter Salmon, QC, and fellow commissioners, former public servant Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand, began listening to more than 550 ratepayers, interested parties and councils on ways to improve Auckland's local governance.

They concluded regional governance was weak and fragmented, community engagement poor and delivered a package of reforms in March.

The Government picked up on a Super City and mayor elected at large, but rejected recommendations for six local councils under the main body and plans for three Maori seats.

Instead, it went for 20 to 30 local boards which Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey noted would be limited to "brothels, dogs and graffiti".

The weak functions and powers for the local boards has sparked criticism. Also under fire are plans for 12 ward councillors and eight councillors elected at large on the Auckland Council. There are concerns the ward councillors will represent more than 100,000 people each and the at-large system will favour political blocs and those who can afford city-wide campaigns.

Rural-focused Rodney and Papakura districts councils want to be left out of the Super City.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said it is a given the local boards will get more power. The thinking in Government circles is how much power can be handed to local boards without undermining the big picture focus of the Auckland Council.

On the other contentious issues, Mr Hide says the Government will be interested to hear the arguments of the 800 or so submitters expected to have a say over the next four weeks.

The Act leader and his National Party coalition partner are philosophically opposed to Maori seats. Whether the Maori Party and submitters can achieve a quota of Maori seats is a big political hurdle.

The Government plan - recommended by the royal commission - to have a mix of ward-based and councillors elected at large on the Auckland Council is driven by the parochialism and factionalism that has long bedevilled Auckland for so long. The fear being that ward councillors will make a song and dance about their patch at the expense of the region.

Labour leader Phil Goff, whose MPs have been milking criticism of the shake-up, will be in attendance today and is confident community opposition will force the Government to back down on some aspects of the package.

Mr Goff is scathing of the Government's handling of the Super City and says the select committee process is a belated chance for Aucklanders to have a say.

"Labour has always supported the idea of a unitary council, but supports stronger, more effective second-tier representation and all councillors elected by wards," he said.

"It also supports Maori seats."