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27 May 2009
John Carter: Better transport, consistent services top the list

Travelling across Auckland to the next public meeting on local governance, I am more convinced than ever that this is a city in desperate need of better transport planning.

This is partly why the Government has picked up the Royal Commission’s main recommendation for a single region-wide council which ratepayers can rely on to get important things done.

Poor decisions on transport over many years are among the things that have been holding this wonderful city back and it’s one of the big reasons I’m so supportive of a single council with a vision to promote a world class city with world class services and amenities.

Whether you support public transport, walkways, cycleways, or better roads, there is virtually no debate from the Aucklanders that I’ve been speaking to that something needs to improve.

For a long time it has been recognised Auckland’s current council structures are failing to deliver the level of services all Aucklanders require in an efficient and consistent way.

The proposed council will be able to get things done for Auckland in essential areas like transport. Despite their best attempts, the present councils are choked in red tape and complex negotiations, or do not have enough money to get the job done properly.

The Auckland Council Mayor will lead a group of elected Councillors who, in combination with the local boards, will understand the needs of the varied communities they serve.

The amalgamation of the existing councils will take some time and effort, but it will be a more efficient system for residents in the longer-term. What’s more, Aucklanders can finally get the resources for a truly integrated transport system and with future focussed planning.

But this won’t happen at the expense of the many diverse communities that make up greater Auckland.

Their unique identities will be preserved, and that is why we are staging a series of community meetings throughout the city and its surrounds, to get a sense of how residents want their neighbourhoods represented at a grassroots level. 

Through dialogue, we will work together to determine the powers of locally elected boards and the types of services they will deliver.

A special Parliamentary select committee for Auckland has now been set up to hear suggestions and stimulate debate and the Government enters this process with a genuinely open mind. We welcome many of the commonsense suggestions that communities are putting forward.

Keep them coming. 

Hon John Carter, Associate Minister of Local Government


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