5 March 2021
THE CITY CAN NEVER BE THE SAME
On Wednesday evening, November 3, I attended the inaugural meeting of the new Otara-Papatoetoe local Board. This is in effect our new local Council.
Congratulations to Ian McGechie from St Johns congregation, who is one of its members and to all those on the board. We are fortunate that between them they carry a lot of experience on the former Manukau city council and the community boards.
In the scriptures we are urged to pray for those who are in government and particularly for the city we live in and it is useful to know how the decisions about our city are to be made.
Of course the wider area policies are made by the Auckland council [and the mayor has huge personal powers compared with past mayors] but it is the local boards who have responsibility for our local affairs. So from all the vagueness surrounding their role I have extracted the following information
The role of local boards
Local boards will be the face of local government. They will meet regularly with the communities they represent and deal with the things concerning local people. They will consult communities formally when developing local board plans. The principle is that decision-making for all non-regulatory activities should be undertaken by local boards, unless a regional approach would better promote the well-being of Auckland communities.
The act requires the Auckland Council to allocate decision-making on non-regulatory activities between the local boards and the Auckland Council depending on which aspects are local in nature and which would benefit from a regional approach.
Non-regulatory activities tend to be activities that directly enhance the well-being of communities. It is proposed that local boards will oversee local facilities (such as community parks, halls, swimming pools, sports fields and libraries), local programmes and activities (such as local events, community arts and culture programmes, community advisory services and social housing initiatives) and local services (such as enhanced rubbish removal, graffiti control, and cleaning programmes for the local area).
They will make locally based decisions on, for example, location and design of new facilities, local service standards, maintenance programmes for local infrastructure, and local centre branding and marketing.
The Auckland Council will decide what the local boards can decide but there are a number of regulatory matters which could be delegated to local boards. These include local decisions on liquor control (such as what local parks are subject to liquor bans), location and signage for commercial sex premises within local areas, and restrictions on activity within local public places (such as local street trading). Local boards can propose local bylaws to the Council.
Working with others
Council-controlled organisations have a direct relationship with local boards in seeking input to their plans and in day-to-day matters in local board areas.. Eg, Auckland Transport, manages Aucklandís local government transport network.and will be responsible for footpaths, street furniture, signage and lighting. Auckland Transport will need to engage regularly with local boards on local initiatives such as bus stop locations, safety initiatives, and speed restrictions.
Budgets and support - The money to do it!
On day one, each local board will have a budget and allocated decision-making responsibilities. These responsibilities will be significant. The local boards will represent communities larger than many district councils in New Zealand. The budgets and allocation of responsibility will be commensurate with this.
The places we live in, affect the way we relate to one another, so let us uphold those who are serving their community in this way and pray for the people of our city and our local region.
"On the margin, still they come and go
In the restless city's ebb and flow;
And we watch or we pass on the other side,
Yet these are the souls for whom Christ died.
And the city will never be the same,
For love's reborn each Easter dawn in the heart of the city." Easter City - Colin Gibson
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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