Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Auckland council reviews local boards structure

Auckland Council is reviewing representation arrangements and how local boards are organised through its Representation Project.

A ‘representation review’ to consider how well residents are represented in decision-making happens every six years. But this year, the Council review is happening alongside an examination of how local boards are structured.   

The representation review looks at:  

  • how many councillors and local board members Auckland has;
  • how they are elected;
  • ward and board boundaries, names and the number of representatives in each area.

The local board reorganisation will look at: 

  • the optimal number of local boards, particularly given Auckland’s growth since 2010 when the council was set up;
  • the range and scope of their decision-making;
  • how local boards can be funded to get more done for their communities.

That means decisions will soon be made on whether change may improve the effectiveness and efficiency of regional and local decision-making through a simpler governance model, Council said in a statement.  

“Fewer local boards that are more empowered may be better resourced to make important local decisions on behalf of their communities. This will be explored in detail as part of the reorganisation project,” it said.

The Governing Body has established a Joint Governance Working Party (JGWP) to investigate options – such as combining boards that share the same ward boundaries to reduce duplication and increase responsiveness, or confirming the existing arrangements are right for Aucklanders. 

JGWP Chair, Councillor Julie Fairey says early engagement with key internal and external stakeholders will provide a greater understanding of what we can expect from the impacts of any potential change. 

“At this point in the process, we are seeking feedback from elected members, iwi, advisory panels, community organisations and the wider Auckland Council whānau,” she said.

“We want to understand what changes, small or large, could create the opportunity for better decision-making for Auckland – locally and regionally.”

Following early engagement, the JGWP will then make recommendations to the Governing Body.

Cr Fairey said that while public feedback was an essential part of the process, the Governing Body must first decide two things in May.

Representation review

  • approving an initial proposal for the 2025 elections, on which to consult with the public;

Local board reorganisation plan

  • whether to progress a local board reorganisation plan to public consultation;

OR

  • whether council will stay with the local board status quo for the 2025 elections.

“As a representation review is something the council must do, Aucklanders will be asked to have their say on the proposal in June and July 2024. If a change to local boards is considered worthwhile, council will also be asking Aucklanders for their views on proposed local board changes at the same time,” said Cr Fairey.

The Governing Body will consider feedback – from local boards, Auckland Council whānau, the public and Joint Governance Working Party – before making its decision on representation arrangements and a reorganisation plan in September.  

This will allow time for the Local Government Commission to review and approve changes, and then for these changes to be made in time for our next local body election in October 2025. 

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