Council response to grumpy ratepayers

The Local Government Commission (LGC) has welcomed an Auckland Council report in response to its recommendations to address dissatisfied Rodney ratepayers.

But the Northern Action Group (NAG) describes the report as “underwhelming”.

The recommendations emerged after the LGC declined applications from North Rodney and Waiheke to separate from the Auckland Supercity.

Nevertheless, while the LGC said the existing government structure was appropriate, it acknowledged that “challenges remain”.

It said concerns were raised about whether those in outlying areas were getting a fair deal compared to more central Auckland communities.  

The Commission said people felt disconnected from Council and unable to communicate with it meaningfully about local concerns.

The LGC urged Council to reconsider funding allocations and improve services to make local government better for those in “Auckland’s outer areas”.

In response, Council released a 23-page “Enhancing Local Government for Aucklanders” report late last month.

The LGC praised the report for detailing several Council undertakings. These included a major increase in the road sealing budget for Rodney, a review of service level variability across Auckland and “targeted communication improvements” in areas with strong local identities.

But the Council report has left NAG, which has long fought for an independent North Rodney, unimpressed.

NAG chair Bill Townson said there was a lot of talk in the report about governance and communication, but little inclination to change from central control, which is at the root
of the problem.

On the other hand, NAG’s proposal for a devolved empowerment council based on the successful Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) would work well, as evidenced by that Council’s high approval rating and lower operating costs.

“Auckland Council can tinker around the edges of the Auckland model forever, but it will never achieve for North Rodney what a TCDC model could,” he said.

He said NAG will continue to fight in the courts and through political lobbying for full self-determination for North Rodney.

The full Auckland Council response to the LGC recommendations can be found at: