Thank you for putting your trust in me at October’s election and for giving me the opportunity to continue working with you to build Auckland’s future. Together we will make Auckland a world-class and inclusive city. One of my first priorities since the start of the term has been to establish an independent review of council-controlled organisations (CCOs). I undertook to do this during the election campaign. I received strong feedback that this needs to happen and now I intend to deliver on that undertaking.
While the CCOs have accomplished a lot of good work, which they deserve credit for, there is concern that the model imposed on Auckland by central government in 2010 paid too little attention to issues of responsiveness and accountability. The CCOs are public bodies funded from public revenue, and they must be fully accountable. Ten years after the new Council structures were created is a good time to examine what has worked well and what hasn’t. This review process is now well underway, with the terms of reference signed off by Auckland Council in November and a panel due to be appointed in coming weeks. I intend to have the review up and running by Christmas and completed before July next year, so that any changes to the structure of the CCOs can be considered as soon as possible.
Our goal is for the review to result in a more effective Council group that is fully capable of responding to the challenges our city faces. As well as the independent review of the CCOs, I have established a new CCO Oversight Committee, which will allow councillors to better monitor the organisations and ensure they are more responsive to elected members and accountable to ratepayers. It includes the appointment of liaison councillors who will attend CCO board meetings and will ensure those boards clearly understand Council’s priorities and that Council is better informed about decisions being made by the boards.
Other new committees include an Environment and Climate Change Committee to lead Council’s response to the challenges posed by climate change and a Value for Money Committee. The Value for Money Committee will build on the progress we have already made over the past three years to find efficiencies and eliminate waste and duplication, and to ensure that we get the best value for money from ratepayers’ investment in Council.
My best wishes to you for an enjoyable, relaxing and peaceful Christmas break with family and friends.
Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland