Aucklanders will have a greater say in decisions affecting their greatest jewels - including the waterfront - under sweeping changes to plans for the Super City, announced yesterday.

After widespread disillusionment over laws setting up the Super City, the pendulum has swung from a corporate model to something closer to a democratic structure.

Plans to set up agencies that would control most services and be virtually unanswerable to the public have been replaced with stronger accountability provisions, including allowing the Auckland Council to require the agencies to hold public meetings.

The unelected boards of business people controlling Auckland's key assets will have to get used to the public glare after the two heavyweight Super City mayoral contenders, John Banks and Len Brown, yesterday promised to implement this change.

They also promised Aucklanders that the mayor and the Auckland Council - not a waterfront development agency as previously suggested - would develop a masterplan for the waterfront.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said he would consult Auckland's mayors on the directors for seven council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and leave two vacancies on each CCO board for the Auckland Council to make appointments.

The Auckland Council has also been given the power to appoint the chair and deputy chairs of the CCOs, and the CCOs will be made subject to the council's long-term and other strategic plans.

The report of a special select committee, which received 786 submissions on the third Super City bill, also strengthens and more clearly defines the roles of 21 local boards.

The Government is still refusing to define the roles of local boards in legislation.

But it has listed an extensive list of non-regulatory functions that the boards will undertake and that the Auckland Council cannot take from them without negotiation.

Local boards will have significant decision-making rights and funding for community, arts and culture, sports and library facilities, parks, reserves and beaches, town centre upgrades, mainstreet and business associations and waste management policies.

The final list of functions and first local board budgets will be set before July 23 by the agency designing the Super City.

This month, a Herald-DigiPoll survey showed only 32.8 per cent of Aucklanders thought the new city would be a better place to live in if the reforms took place, against 48.5 per cent who said it wouldn't.

National MP John Carter, who chairs the special select committee, said the changes reflected the passionate view of Aucklanders, who would be in charge of their city.

Mr Hide, who has borne the brunt of public scepticism, said the changes were more dramatic than he expected but were a significant and positive milestone for Aucklanders.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government would accept the changes recommended by the select committee.

The Main Changes:
* Pendulum swings from corporate to democratic model.

* Aucklanders are in charge of their city, says select committee chairman.

* Council-controlled organisations (CCOs) will hold public meetings, say mayoral contenders.

* Rodney Hide will consult mayors on CCO directors.

* Auckland Council will appoint CCO chairs and deputies.

* Aucklanders will determine masterplan for waterfront.