Region survives serial secessionism
Serial attempts to turn the clock back six decades have failed, and deservedly.
For without regional governance, Aucklanders would be much the poorer, for example, 27 sublime regional parks poorer.
It would also lack a cohesive planning mechanism to cope with the region’s latest growth projections—doubling to a troubling nearly 2.6 million by 2043. Meanwhile, it will be no surprise to those who have any comprehension of huge range of expertise and services that unitary authorities are legally obligated to deliver, that the ratepayers a northern Rodney unitary authority, serving only 24 000 people, would have needed to stump up an estimated additional 20–27% for rates, and for transition costs on top of that.
Meanwhile, despite being assessed as a reasonably practicable option, Mahurangi Action’s proposal for two local boards to replace the current Rodney Local Board, the commission opted for the status quo:
The Commission considered that an additional local board in Rodney was unlikely to improve the existing local government arrangements in the Auckland Council area or result in efficiencies overall, due to the additional cost and uncertain benefits.
The additional cost was estimated to be $1 million per year. Whether that figure was highballed—including for six local board members where there are now four, whereas five would be ample—is now immaterial, given that the opportunity for a fresh Tamahunga Local Board to become an exemplar in local representation has been denied, possibly for the want of the fulsome support of Rodney’s existing local board and its ward member, much less Auckland’s mayor. Meantime the option went largely unreported the local mainstream media, more at home fanning the flames of super-city discontentment—this, despite the option being mentioned at least 35 times in the decision paper, including:
It is 12 years since the then mayor, John Law, explored the possibility of then entire Rodney District being a unitary authority, only to find it would result in a massive rates blowout. It is now more than time for the small-minded notion to be relinquished in favour of working with, and strengthening, regional governance.
And a great opportunity to get on with issues that do matter is Warren Maclennan’s Warkworth Town Hall Talk, on 14 February, the working title of which is:
Planning a remarkable Mahurangi town
Because while the region’s population might be doubling by 2043, that of Mahurangi’s tidehead town is set more than quadruple.