March 11, 2009

Thames-Coromandel or Auckland?

The current hot potato political issue on our island is a proposal by one of the Community Board Members to transfer local and regional governance over the Hauraki Gulf Islands from Auckland City and Auckland Regional Council to the Thames-Coromandel District Council and Environment Waikato.
Nobilangelo Ceramalus's proposal in his own words is at length on his blog.
Now that the proposal has been accepted by the Local Government Commission for consideration, you can now make submissions to the proposal before 20 April, but no convenient internet submission form is available. It has to be mailed to where? Is this to discourage dissidents?
Also nowhere is a mention made that any change proposals have to be subjected to a referendum before they can take effect. Or will it be a case of Commission bureaucrat fiat?

Needless to say the proposal has been causing some ruckus on the island, with bitter words published back and forth. And a petition against the transfer was doing the rounds on the ferry over the last few days, with a great deal of signatures collected.
All good fun and games, but there is of course a serious base to this: the perceived arrogance by Auckland City Council with all things Waiheke, and their never ceasing attempts to turn us into a suburbs with the same rules, regulations, fees and services as the mainland but without asking for our input, and when they do, to dismiss us as Cadbury Island (as in fruits and nuts).

I have often railed in the past against the rule by Babylon-across-the-sea, but I have yet to see the light on the Thames-Coromandel proposal. The timing of the project is certainly unfortunate with the report by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance due to be released at the end of the month. If that has a satisfactory outcome for Waiheke (such as beefed up competences for the local community board) I don't see the need to move to Coromandel, but I'd be happy to wait until we reach 10,000 citizens and we can establish our own Council again.

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