Will this lead to censoring?
By John Subritzky
A review panel was established in response to public disquiet about the performance and accountability of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs). The CCOs are Auckland Transport, Auckland Unlimited (formerly ATEED and Regional Facilities), Eke Panuku Development Auckland, and Watercare. The independent panel reported back in 2020 and all 64 recommendations were adopted.
This has now come down to an engagement plan with each of the 21 local boards, to promote better communication between the boards and each of the CCOs. This is intended to help CCOs have more regard to local boards’ plan outcomes, improve communications, and keep up to date with intended work programs.
In return, the CCOs get a ‘no surprises’ agreement, where any local body concerns must be addressed through agreed single point of contact managers and advise if they are planning to speak to the media on a CCO related matter. This also means that local boards must direct questions about a CCO’s activities to either a local area manager or to the CCO’s elected member liaison so that consistent responses are given.
With the vast communications and PR resources available to Council and CCOs, this appears to be another move to tighten up on the flow of information and to control the narrative about council activity, even down to local board level.
All 21 local boards were requested to agree to and sign up to the engagement plan. Whau Local Board voted unanimously to agree and signed off on this at their July business meeting.