UPDATED The council controlled organisations (CCOs) that will help run Auckland’s supercity have been made slightly more accountable under new rules announced by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide today.
The reporting back of the Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill by the Auckland governance legislation committee has seen Auckland Council’s control over its substantive CCPs strengthened.
This changes include:
* The Auckland Council will now appoint the chair and deputy of each CCO
* The Auckland Council must now have a stated and public CCO accountability policy which “clearly establishes that the council has control over its CCOs.”
* CCOs are now made subject to the council’s long-term and other strategic plans
* CCOs will now be required to have their meetings open to the public and must report quarterly, rather than half-yearly.
The bill is the third and final one that will complete the legislative framework for the reform of Auckland governance and will go through its remaining Parliamentary stages over the next few weeks.
The changes do not allow for the privatisation of Watercare and any assets owned by Watercare would have to revert to the council if it decided it did not want Watercare to be the water and wastewater service provider after 2015.
Only Auckland Transport is being set up as a statutory CCO, requiring an act of parliament to disband it.
Labour MP Phil Twyford said the bill gave "no real power" to the local boards and failed to shift normal civic activity back to the council.
"The Government is imposing the CCOs on Auckland. Every other council in New Zealand gets to make its own decisions about what is corporatised and what is not; why not Auckland?"
The CCOs were going to be so big and powerful it would be difficult for the council and mayor to make them accountable, Mr Twyford said.
"This Government has ignored the majority of submitters who said they wanted to see the powers of local boards guaranteed in law."
Greens MP David Clendon said communities would feel "remote from the decision-making process" because the local boards would have no real capacity to influence decisions.
He said he was not convinced the CCOs would be transparent enough or accountable to the council.
"Mr Hide has chosen to ignore the many submitters who want democratically elected local politicians to have control over such entities."
Mon, 24 May 2010