Updated 29 October 2008
The Auckland Regional Council decided yesterday to refer Nobilangelo Ceramalus’ proposal on Hauraki Gulf administration to the Local Government Commission, without discussion.
Published 27 October 2008
Nobilangelo Ceramalus has presented a proposal to shift most of the Hauraki Gulf islands out of Auckland administration and into governance by the Thames-Coromandel District Council & Environment Waikato.
Apart from that shift, however, he envisages much of the administration being localised under the authority of 2 new community boards.
Mr Ceramalus left Rangitoto out of the change because it was an Auckland icon and Browns Island because it was gifted to Auckland City.
He said 11.07% of gulf island voters (739 out of 6672) had signed his petition, which the Auckland Regional Council will consider on Tuesday 28 October. The recommendation before the council is to support its process being handled by the Local Government Commission.
Mr Ceramalus was elected to the Waiheke community board last year and, in February, presented his proposal there. The board has since voted not to support the proposal. Mr Caremalus lodged his petition with the Thames-Coromandel council on 26 September and it’s since been sent to Independent Election Services for verification.
After the transfer, the Thames-Coromandel council would be increased from 9 to 12 members, 2 representing Waiheke & its smaller neighbours and one representing Great Barrier Island. The Coromandel Peninsula councillor on Environment Waikato would also represent the 2 new island wards.
Mr Ceramalus has proposed the 2 new wards would have community boards, each of 5 elected members plus their councillor/s, plus the regional councillor (sitting on both boards), plus one Maori-speaking representative of the local Maori community.
They would also have a high degree of autonomy, with delegated authority under the Resource Management Act and primary responsibility for their wards’ annual plans & budgets, “which shall be deeply rooted in comprehensive & open consultation, in particular with permanent residents, whose majority wishes shall be preferred”.
Mr Ceramalus envisages smaller village, neighbourhood & rural forums being used in a formal way to gauge views, forming “a true grassroots democracy”.
The Ceramalus proposal goes well beyond shifting administration from one bureaucracy & political body to the next. He has also gone into detail on rating proposals (anti-speculation, favouring permanent residents) and on development limitations.
Ratepayers would get a discount calculated on years of occupation, to encourage long-term ownership Ratepayers with a postal address outside the district would be levied a targeted rate, using a scale on improved values Anyone selling a property within 2 years – and who can’t prove they occupied it for that period – would be levied a high special rate on capital value, to discourage speculation Where a rating unit has 2 or more separately inhabited parts – and where the improved value exceeds the average for that island – the owners would face a targeted differential rate struck on capital value There would also be a targeted differential rate where any habitable part of the rating units exceeds 200m² gross floor area, or 15% of the land area, whichever is the lesser and, again, where the improved value exceeds the average for that island.
The wishes of permanent residents would get preference in consultation on the district plan The whole of section 7 of the Resource Management Act, except subsection (h), would be made mandatory criteria in all planning decisions Amenity, under section 7c of the RMA, would mean pleasantness and nothing else in a planning decision Any proposed development costing (or projected to cost) more than 25% of the total rates take in that ward in the previous year “may not take place or in anyway begin unless approved by at least 60% of those who vote in a ward referendum – and for the referendum to be valid, at least 50% of registered voters must turn out All resource consent applications would first have to be presented by the applicants in person to a full open meeting of the relevant community board (and be fully illustrated from 8 compass points, or from all practical & relevant vantage points) No application would proceed to detailed examination & report by designated planners unless first approved in principle by the community board, and the final decision on an application would be made by the community board.
In the transfer, Mr Ceramalus envisages:
all island assets owned by Auckland City Council being transferred shares in Auckland International Airport Ltd & Ports of Auckland Ltd formerly owned by Waiheke County Council being transferred and earnings from them used on Waiheke liabilities such as leaky-building claims “caused by Auckland City Council’s actions or errors of omission or commission during the period of its authority” would be met fully by the Auckland council, not transferred, and similarly with Auckland Regional Council liabilities.
Website: Ceramalus blog
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Attribution: ARC report & meeting, Ceramalus blog, February Waiheke news reports, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.