Viewpoint - Supercity turns 10 – how are we doing?

Ten years ago this month, the Auckland Supercity was formed and I was fortunate enough to be elected to represent you on the Rodney Local Board. At the time, the budgets of the former councils were amalgamated and the first budgets for Auckland were formed. As you might imagine, this was chaos!  At the time, I said it would take at least 10 years of the Supercity to sort this out. And now, 10 years on, although the operation of Council and flow of funds is much improved, we aren't quite there yet.

Of particular concern is that the inequity of wealth of the contributing cities has been exacerbated. Those cities who were spending money at the time of amalgamation had budget lines that carried into Auckland Council. And Rodney was not in good financial shape.  For example, along with many other shortcomings, there was no Rodney seal extension budget.  So, no budget lines were carried forward.  Work to alleviate this inequity is starting to be noted. An understanding of inequity across the city is necessary, along with a desire to see the whole of Auckland prosper. Our councillors, the city's governing body, are responsible. Acknowledgement, for example, of measures like deprivation and land mass as deserving of additional weighting in the distribution of funding is imperative. It's a step. There must be acknowledgement before there can be a resolution, right?

This month we also signed off on your Local Board Plan. The document that sets out your local priorities and the things that we, as a region, aspire to. It's a great document.  Many thanks to those who submitted and our staff who have worked in trying conditions this year to get this done. If you have a chance, give it a read (akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/rodneyplan).

The summer silly season is nearly upon us here in the north. Traffic jams, people everywhere, stress on our Council services.  Please do not hesitate to call the AC hotline 301 0101 for anything Council-related.

Some awesome wins for this area recently with the allocation of funds to build a multi-sport facility at the Warkworth Showgrounds, the realignment of the Warkworth–Snells wastewater line, funding for the dredging of the Mahurangi River, funding for the Kaipara Harbour …  this is a fabulous place to live. Is it a little selfish to sometimes wish it wasn't quite as popular as it is?

How Auckland Council continues to roll in the next 10 years and how Rodney fares going forward is of interest and hugely important. Although frustrating at times, I love being involved.

As this will be my last column for the year, I wish you and yours a fabulous, safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year, and may 2021 be a little easier on us all!

Steve Garner, Rodney Local Board