INDEPENDENT NEWS

Transparency and Accountability for Auckland Council

Published: Tue 1 Oct 2019 03:49 PM
Transparency in local government is one issue that affects both the general public and the gatekeepers in the media. Journalists and researchers need access to information so that they can do their jobs keeping the public informed and contributing to robust debate.
Access to information
Auckland Council does not give enough access to information. This is totally unacceptable in the digital age, where anything can be put online. All agendas, minutes, and tabled documents should be put online, and meetings should be live-streamed with the ability to make real-time submissions remotely.
Every government department has a staff member dedicated to Official Information Act (“OIA”) requests who is currently underemployed. I would treat every piece of information like an OIA request and publish it online without being asked. Any confidential or commercially sensitive information can be redacted according to the OIA process.
There will be no politically motivated delays in processing OIA requests. Media and researchers will be free to access and download information at their convenience.
Accountability
I am not a career politician; I am just an ordinary person who is fed up with Council. I have travelled around Auckland and talked with regular people, and I have done the one thing that no-one else did – I listened. I have gone to considerable lengths to gather feedback from the community to inform my current policies and provide a platform that people can engage with
That is exactly how I will conduct myself during my tenure, and if I don’t, you can use the ultimate sanction and vote me out.
Transparency
Auckland Council business is notoriously opaque. I will open up the business of council by publishing minutes of decisions made within the Mayor’s office, and publish all proceedings of council and committee meetings.
I will also create a Treasury department that will produce the annual budget. They will also provide accurate costings of key initiatives proposed by Council and the local boards. Treasury will conduct regular audits of Council departments, CCOs and subsidiaries and publish the results in an annual report online.

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