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Letter to Lockwood: Mahurangi must remain in region

by 1 Sep 2009Regional governance0 comments

Destination Northland map

Already Gone North: Destination Northland appears to claim not only the Mahurangi, but all of Rodney and possibly Auckland to boot. map Destination Northland

Dr Hon Lockwood Smith
Member of Parliament for Rodney
and Speaker of the House

Dear Dr Smith

It is rumoured that the northern boundary of the region is to be moved southward, to the Waiwera River.

As the long-serving member for Rodney, you are arguably best placed to advise the government on the ramifications of such a change. You are also familiar with the style of Mahurangi Action, which you kindly characterised as constructive, after attending a Mahurangi brainstorming breakfast.

Mahurangi Action is strongly opposed to the notion that the Mahurangi catchment be excluded from the Auckland governance region.

In a dozen articles since January 2008 this organisation, through its online publication Mahurangi Magazine, has sought to engage the community in a constructive discussion of the region’s future.

This discussion provided the mandate for the group’s submissions to the royal commission and the select committee, both of which argued that the harbour and its catchment remain within the region.

The group’s motivation in advocating for this position is threefold:

  1. The catchment is functionally part of the region
  2. The catchment is heavily influenced by Auckland city
  3. The catchment is set to continue to receive targeted regional support, for a decade, aimed particularly at reducing its elevated sediment accumulation rate.

The benefit the catchment has received from the five-year Mahurangi Action Plan is very specific. It is thus of great concern that, under the rumoured boundary change, that funding would cease. However, the greater long-term threat would be that the area’s role as a regional green belt would lack support.

The health of satellite communities depends on a healthy relationship with their metropolis. If the Mahurangi community does not share the same governance area as the metropolis, special joint structures and processes will be required. Such structures and processes are likely to be considerably more expensive and less efficacious than was the catchment to simply remain within its natural community of interest.

Impact on Kaipara district Mahurangi Action’s mandate does not extend to advocating that retaining the current boundary is the best interest of the Kaipara district. However it would seem likely, was the northern part of Rodney to be amalgamated with the Kaipara, that the new district—unitary authority?—would be dominated by the populous Warkworth–Snells–Algies–Matakana–Ōmaha–Leigh area. What is of legitimate concern to the Mahurangi is that, freed from any regional growth strategy, northeastern Rodney’s 20 000 population would potentially mushroom to city size, a prospect that appals locals and Aucklanders alike.

Yours faithfully,

Cimino Cole secretary, Derek Light president, Michael Owston-Doyle chairman

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