Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has this afternoon commented on the Local Government Commission decision to assess an application by “Our Waiheke” for a Unitary Council for Waiheke.
“I do think it is important for people to understand the process and that the Commission has only agreed at this point to assess the application and there are several more steps. Further steps include determining the area affected by the application and assessing whether there is evidence of community support, says Ms Kaye.
“Only if it passed these steps would there be public notification of the application, including a call for alternative applications.
“From my perspective it is important to acknowledge that Waiheke has had a long history of moves by some members of the community to shift away from Auckland. Following a petition to separate from Auckland City Council a referendum was held in 1991. This vote failed and Waiheke remained part of Auckland City.
“Additionally, in 2008 the Royal Commission received a number of submissions opposing Waiheke being part of the proposed Auckland Council. This did not occur but the separate 5-member Local Board was established.
“I am a bit worried that this is going to be a polarising issue for Islanders. I know there is some support but there are also a number of people opposed.
“My concern is that potentially some people’s dissatisfaction with the existing council and rates is driving some of this petition. I think it will be important to separate electoral and governance issues to the management of the council.
“At this point I do have real concerns about the ability of another entity to fund Waiheke’s infrastructure requirements, given the number of residents now living on Waiheke and the huge number of tourists visiting the island. I will be listening and seeking the community’s views on the application over the coming months.”