With the advent of the Super City, the organisation seems more confused and top-heavy than ever. From the conglomeration of councils, local boards and council-controlled organisations, who will do what? Who will they be accountable to? John Davidson, Manukau City.
Each part of the whole - the Auckland Council, the local boards and the council-controlled organisations (CCOs) will have its own part to play.
The elected council of the mayor and 20 councillors will focus on "big picture" planning and regionwide decisions. A priority will be to develop a vision for the region and guide its growth and development. Council responsibilities will include setting annual rates and water prices, governance of CCOs, funding of local boards, regional environmental strategy and programmes including stormwater and resource consents.
The CCOs - and they will be council-controlled - will comprise seven "arms length" agencies with appointed boards, which will manage transport (including roading and public transport maintenance and improvements), water and wastewater, waterfront development, investments (including airport and ports), tourism and economic development, regional facilities (including the Auckland Museum, Auckland Art Gallery and the zoo), and the council's properties.
The 21 elected local boards will oversee local services (eg, parks, libraries) and take responsibility for local issues, as well as liaising with the council and its CCOs. The local boards will prepare three-year local plans and negotiate funding with the council, consult with communities, including iwi, for example, to provide input into the council's spatial plan, and undertake local initiatives such as rubbish removal and environmental projects.
There has been a lot of talk about how the Auckland Council will focus on the city's 'spatial plan'. What is that? Just another name for what they think the city should look like? Elizabeth White, Henderson.
Pretty much. The spatial plan will set out the long-term vision and strategic direction for the region. It will outline the policies, priorities and programmes needed to achieve cohesive strategic direction. An example would be the planning of the location and the mix of residential, business and industrial activities.
What sort of voting systems are we going to use this time? Will candidates for all the boards and bodies be on a first-past-the-post system? Martin Osborne, Mt Albert.
The mayor, the city councillors, members of the local boards and, if you have one, your local licensing trust will all be elected by FPP - those who get the most votes get in.
District health boards will be elected by the single transferable vote (STV) system, which is easier than it sounds. All you do is number the candidates in the order you would like them to be on the board - 1 for your favourite, 2 for your next favourite, and so on. You can vote for as many or as few as you like.
A quota is set for the number of votes a person needs to be elected. If they get more than the quota, their excess votes are allocated to the next preferred candidate on the list, and so on. We just have to number the candidates.