The elections for Auckland's Super City have delivered a welcome outcome. The new entity must chart a path that eschews the parochialism of the past. Those selected to sit around the Auckland Council table represent the best chance of achieving a unity of spirit and purpose.

Len Brown, with a record of inclusiveness in Manukau City, has won the mayoralty and, refreshingly, the 20-seat council will not be hostage to political parties. The spread of councillors should encourage a consensual approach, rather than a resumption of the parish-based politics of the past.

Mr Brown starts with the considerable benefit of extensive popular backing. Victories as comprehensive as his are unusual in any political sphere in this country. His elevation owes much to a view that Auckland City, as represented by his chief rival, John Banks, should not be allowed to dominate the new set-up.

Regionwide, there is a demand that the Super City speaks for all. Mr Banks may also have suffered from being too closely identified with controversial elements of the Super City, notably the council-controlled organisations. Mr Brown, from a point further left in the political spectrum, offered a counter-weight to a perceived corporatist thrust.

The coming three years offer a particular challenge for him. He will have to prove wrong those who say he has not got the required degree of forcefulness and enterprise. The mayor is the only person with a mandate provided by the whole city.

In recognition of this, he has unique powers and independent resources. It is he, therefore, who must supply much of the vision and the verve for region-wide progress. He must also ensure that councillors' ward responsibilities do not cause them to lose sight of the single city.

Many of those councillors have been schooled in traditional politics, either at the upper reaches of the former councils or as members of Parliament. There are few new or relatively new faces such as Cameron Brewer and Michael Goudie. If that is somewhat disappointing, many of the veterans, such as George Wood and Christine Fletcher, boast good records.

So, too, do the likes of Sir John Walker, Penny Hulse and Alf Filipaina, who are graduating up. It is also instructive that many of the councillors chose to stand as independents, rather than align themselves with party organisations. That hints at an appreciation of the popular sentiment in favour of a style of governing more in tune with the MMP collaboration practised nationally. It is vital they continue to recognise this.

The first priority for Mr Brown and the council will be to relieve the congestion on Auckland's roads. The mayor wants construction of an underground central-city rail loop, which would double the number of trains through Britomart, to start by the end of his term. He also favours a rail extension to the airport.

Both projects enjoy widespread public support, and the Auckland Council will be measured on its ability to get them off the ground as soon as possible. More prosaically, but no less practically, Mr Brown wishes to create a transport plan around every school. If successful, this would go a fair way towards easing rush-hour traffic congestion. Novel ways will have to be found, however, to wean parents and pupils off their daily drive to and from school.

High on the list of immediate objectives must be the finalising of the functions of 21 local boards and the refining of the relationship with the council-controlled organisations.

Mr Brown campaigned on an empowering of the boards, so they could play a worthwhile role in their communities. He must follow through on this, even though it may run against the instincts of many of the councillors.

A reasonable degree of autonomy and diversity will strengthen the Super City, not dilute it.