One Auckland

I see that the Herald is expecting the Royal Commission to come out with a “super city” approach to Auckland.  This is what I expect also.  This will be good news not just for Auckland but it will put the writing on the wall for the Wellington region also.


2 Responses to “One Auckland”

  1. significanthazard Says:

    May work if we get rid of the elected representatives with their “destructive learned behaviour.” Goodness knows how this will be done?

  2. john terris Says:


    If ever there was an idea whose time has come, then surely this is it for local government amalgamation in the Wellington region,. The economy is in decline, local governments are running out of ways to cut costs, and (not incidentally ) the Auckland local body scene appears to be about to be radically altered by the Royal Commission sitting there and due to report in March. Leaks from the commission suggest they might well recommend the bold step of lopping off one entire layer of the three-tiered local government system in Auckland altogether.

    The preservation of participatory democracy at local level, is of course absolutely essential and will be by no means easy to achieve in the Super City model. There must continue to be access to a local service provider who will fix the hole in the road or a leak in the water main, and whom you can go to and raise hell about some local issue dear to you.. However, the democratic imperative in itself does not demand the continuation in perpetuity of eight separate autonomous councils in the eight different cities and districts of the Wellington region, plus a Regional Council, as is the case at present.

    Indeed such an arrangement is a ready-made recipe for indecision. obfuscation and delay. Does anyone doubt that Transmission Gully would have happened by now without all the inter-regional squabbling? I found as a Mayor that getting others to put aside their petty jealousies and rivalries was often just impossible. Take water as just one example. There is a whole library of studies which show that if we had a single water entity in the Wellington region, instead of each individual local authority managing the retail side, and the Regional Council the wholesale end, we would save millions of dollars. Why don’t we Just Do It? Transport, utilities like libraries, tourism promotion, environmental protection, all need a regional focus for greatest efficiency.

    But above and beyond questions of greater cost effectiveness in terms of service delivery, it’s in the area of policy making and governance that there is the greatest benefit to be derived from amalgamation. What is likely to compel us in Wellington to recognize that, whether we like it or not, is the sequence of events unfolding now in Auckland under the aegis of the Royal Commission. Consider what will happen when we in Wellington are faced with a Super City in Auckland competing for national resources against the rest of New Zealand. At that point, we in Wellington with our creaking top-heavy local government bureaucracy and damaging divisions, will finish a long way back in the race. Only by speaking with One Voice can Wellington hope to counter the increasing influence of the Auckland lobby – and at present this just ain’t happening. Petty patch protection is instead the chief preoccupation of local government here in the Wellington region, to its own continuing deteriment, as well as the interests of the region as a whole.

    (JOHN TERRIS was a government MP at the time of the 1989 Local Government Act, and is a former Mayor of Hutt City)

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