INDEPENDENT NEWS

Call For Single Governing Entity For Auck Region

Published: Wed 5 Nov 2003 05:26 PM
Call For Single Governing Entity For Auckland Region
Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis is calling for a single governance entity to be established in the Auckland region.
He says Auckland is paralyzed with traffic congestion, bogged down in bureaucracy and stunted by parochialism. “We urgently need stronger and more effective regional governance in the form of a Greater Auckland Authority to take over many of the responsibilities and roles of the current councils as well as regional service organisations.
“This Authority would develop integrated strategies for land-use planning, transport, economic development, social well-being and environmental quality.
“It’s needed to advocate for Auckland’s needs and build strong partnerships with government in areas such as health, policing and affordable housing.
“It’s needed to oversee the efficient administration of regional services such as transport, regional parks, economic development, and regional facilities such as major museums and convention centres.
“This does not mean there would be no role for local councils. Councils would still have an important role to play in serving their communities in many ways. But we must recognise that there are matters that can be managed more efficiently and effectively on a regional basis.
“We have the foundations for a Greater Auckland Authority in the Auckland Regional Council. However considerable change will be required to transform this under-nourished and emasculated organisation into the strong, confident flagship the region so badly requires.
“Other regional organisations such as Infrastructure Auckland would naturally be integrated with the new organisation. As to the membership of the Authority, I propose there would be a mix of elected and appointed members.
“Some people will recall the days of the old Auckland Regional Authority and wonder whether the new organisation would be the beast reborn. I see it modeled differently. I envisage a strong but relatively small central administration overseeing a series of special-purpose entities run along business lines.
“These would be companies or trusts overseen by the Authority. The largest would be Transport Auckland, a single entity to plan, fund and implement an integrated system of roads, rail, buses and ferries for Auckland. Significant changes will be required to bring together the functions currently carried out by a plethora of government and council organisations, committees and forums.
“In addition to transport, special-purpose entities would deliver other regional services. Entities for economic development, regional facilities, and regional parks would be formed.
“The need for action is urgent. We must focus on the good of greater Auckland and put in place strong and effective governance to plan for the
region, to speak for it and oversee the delivery of services which are best managed regionally.
“Such changes are not beyond the political will of the government and of Auckland’s leaders. It behoves us all to do what is required for the good of the region as a whole. I would like to see the change implemented by the time of the next local government elections in October next year.
“It is time for leadership and time for action. Let’s start now,” Sir Barry says.

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