Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One to rule them all

A Royal Commission is to be set up to look into the future structure of Auckland. At the moment, the 1.3 million people of Auckland are divided among four large city councils, three smaller ones (two of which are sometimes called “rurban” because they’re neither rural nor urban) and a regional council covering the entire region (dealing mostly with transport and environmental issues).

Proposals have included keeping things as they are, revising and strengthening the Auckland Regional Council, amalgamating into three larger cities or creating one “super city”. The Royal Commission will look into the realities of Auckland governance as it is now, and examine the various proposed options to change it.

The “super city” option has many ardent supporters and detractors. On the face of it, the proposal would seem to be more efficient and would enable Auckland to better compete with other, larger world cities. However, it would be a huge power within New Zealand, sometimes competing with central government, sometimes overshadowing it, which makes it unpopular with some politicians.

I have no idea what will eventually emerge as a proposal, nor whether that proposal will be adopted. However, I do think that some sort of amalgamation may be inevitable. In the meantime, I feel better knowing that an impartial Royal Commission will be looking into it, rather than politicians of varying kinds.

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