The Super City will be great for Auckland, says Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman.

It would give Auckland the ability to plan and the financial grunt to deliver infrastructure, he said in a keynote address to the Local Government New Zealand conference in Auckland yesterday.

The Brisbane City Council is now the largest council in Australasia with 1.1 million residents, but will be surpassed on November 1 when the Auckland Council, representing 1.4 million residents, comes into being.

Mr Newman was brimming with positives about the Brisbane model, which he said stemmed from tough and unrelenting politics and flowed through to a clear vision and economic plan for the city.

"There has got to be consultation and really bring people with you. It is not easy but we put a lot of time and resources into it."

Like Auckland, Brisbane's number-one problem was traffic congestion, which he said was being tackled on three fronts, including $100 million a year being spent on cycleways, increasing bus patronage from 48 million to 77 million passengers in the past six years, and major roading projects.

The pending Super City dominated discussions on and off the conference floor with a warning from Prime Minister John Key that the reforms carried implementation risks.

"It is a recognition of the size of what we are doing. I'm confident we will get there. There will always be some bits and pieces that don't go absolutely perfectly to plan on day one but an awful amount of work and planning has gone on and I feel confident about the process."

Mr Key said the agency designing the Super City had identified some risks early on, such as software implementation and co-ordination.

"It is $29 billion worth of assets and $3.2 billion worth of revenue. It is bigger than a lot of companies in New Zealand, if not most."

A session on local boards raised concerns about how local democracy was going to work and the level of remuneration.

Said Kapiti Coast District Council Mayor Jenny Rowan: "Let's get real. This is a fulltime job. We simply don't pay enough to attract quality people."

Local board members will be paid $20,000 to $40,000, with chairmen and chairwomen getting about twice that figure.

Manukau Mayor Len Brown, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams and Waitakere Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse also provided a perspective on the Super City reforms.

Mr Brown, who is campaigning for mayor, said the ability to power up the 21 local boards would be crucial to the success of the Super City, but the funding and resourcing were questionable.

Mr Williams, another Super City mayoral candidate, predicted the cost of the reforms at $300 million, which would be lumbered on ratepayers.

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Rodney Hide used his speech to announce a review of the "proper constitutional status of local government", called "Smarter Government - Stronger Communities".

The review will look at the relationship between central and local government, including their respective functions and decision-making powers to better serve communities.

SUPER CITIES
Brisbane City Council
* Population 1.1m
* Number of councillors 26
* Budget $2.8bn
* GDP $85bn
* In existence since 1925

Auckland Council
* Population 1.4m
* Number of councillors 21
* Budget $3.2bn
* GDP $50bn
* Comes into force on November 1