Auckland Council is shifting more responsibility over service and asset decisions to local boards.
Changes to the Allocation of Decision-making for Non-regulatory Activities Policy and the Local Board Funding Policy were approved at the Governing Body meeting on June 23.
The changes allow local boards to make substantive decisions over which assets and services to invest in within a local board area.
The Governing Body will still maintain decisions over budget allocation and minimum service levels.
Along with increased responsibilities, up to $2.8 million will be included in councils annual budget to resource and staff the implementation of changes for local boards.
At the Governing Body meeting Cr Linda Cooper challenged the need for increased spending when council currently had advisors who could help the local boards transition.
“We need to have good reasons as to why we are spending more money,” Cooper said.
Customer and Community Services director Claudia Wyss responded that council was currently in the process of enhancing advisory services and this transition would increase to the need for advisors.
“We want to make sure we can deliver this well,” Wyss said.
Cr Daniel Newman said local boards would have a “better line of sight” for decisions in their area.
“I think there are efficiencies in having people who are closest to the consequences of decisions having to take responsibility for those decisions,” Newman said.
“I actually think this is a really important piece of work. It will improve co-governance and I look forward to it implementation.”
Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore said he was placing his bets that localised decisions would save the council money.
“Going through council amalgamation we have lost a little bit of that localism,” Cashmore said.
Mayor Phil Goff said he was originally skeptical of the idea and had concerns for assets that crossed ward lines.
“This allows each of those communities to decide which assets they would like to sustain and which they might want to reinvest in.”
The Governing Body will receive a six month update in December on the success of the transition.