There is a danger that the new council could become more of a forum for argument about decisions that have already been taken by the CCOs.

Monday will be a significant moment in the life of Auckland.

After four years of planning, argument, legislation and an election, the "Super City" will come into operation.

The newly elected Auckland Council will assemble at dawn for a powhiri and reconvene in the evening for its 20 members to be sworn in and hear a speech from Mayor Len Brown that he has already said will announce 100 projects to be launched in the first 100 days.

He wants the city to feel it is embarking on "an exhilarating journey".

Rhetoric of that sort may be the council's main output for a few days. Fully two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, have been set aside for its members' maiden speeches.

This is slightly worrying.

The council may be the second most powerful elected body in the land but it is not Parliament.

With 20 seats, not 120, it is akin to the size of the Cabinet, not theHouse.

Every member will have plenty of opportunities to speak early in its ordinary proceedings.

It remains to be seen whether the council operates as a decision-making executive or as a forum for political debate.

The mayor has done his utmost to make it an executive body by giving all members something to do.

Much will depend on whether the Citizens & Ratepayers minority can live with the priorities of the Mayor and the majority.

Much will depend, too, on whether the respective roles of the council and council-controlled organisations give the council enough to do.

Since CCOs are supposed to make day-to-day decisions and the council's role is to write policy for their guidance, something will have to give.

Public attention will focus on the one that it finds to be considering contentious issues and making concrete decisions.

It will be hard to find much interest in a council that is restricted to appointing decision-makers and monitoring their performance.

If that is the extent of the council's role it is going to be more like Parliament, a sounding board for political argument about decisions that have been made in a less public place.

Partisan divisions would be bound to develop.

The elected local boards of the council will also come into operation from Monday even less certain of their role and relationship with their statutory superior.

Mayor Brown will be aware he was elected on fears that too much local government might be lost in a single city. He must see that local boards are given meaningful powers and the resources to use them.

After the council is sworn in on Monday, it will be addressed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Local Government.

They can feel a sense of achievement, though it should be remembered that the project pre-dated them. Helen Clark deserves at least as much credit (or blame) for it, but she would be the first to concede that it was not her initiative either.

The idea took root in Auckland business circles and it was promoted most forcefully by the Employers and Manufacturers Association.

Their aim was to simplify and streamline local government and see Auckland given stronger leadership. "One city, one plan, one rates bill" was their mantra.

The people of Auckland have yet to be convinced that one council will be better for them all. From Monday, we will begin to find out.