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One voice needed for World Class City

One voice needed--Ram Rai.jpgIn a fortnight from now, Aucklanders will start receiving ballot papers to vote for the new Auckland City Council.

This is one of the biggest local government reforms ever undertaken in the history of New Zealand. The current seven councils will merge into one huge Super Council.

This is an opportunity for Aucklanders to have one voice and work together to make this a World Class City. We must choose a Mayor and Councillors who will work together and share our vision.

The local boards will play a major role in the new Council by providing input to Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) for the local development plans.

Safer Community

Strengthening and protecting our vibrant communities should be a priority of the new Council, which must also recognise individual neighbourhoods and ethnic groups.

Aucklanders must feel safe in the region and the new leadership must provide effective policing to fight anti-social behaviour on our streets and in our communities. They should encourage and support arts, sport and cultural activities, and work with community, cultural and sports groups to build facilities expected of a World Class City.

They must invest in programmes that will strengthen our rich ethnic diversity and celebrate as one people.

Strong Leadership

Aucklanders must elect a leader who can lead positively and effectively in the new administrative structure. We need an experienced and capable team that would be transparent, accountable and work in unison to achieve our objectives. We need strong leaders from communities to decide on local matters and ensure that the Auckland Council and CCOs work constructively with Local Boards.

Reduced Burden

The new Council must reduce the burden on households and businesses by judicious employment of resources saved from streamlined Council structure and invest in developing infrastructure to commensurate a World Class City. It should accept the challenge of keeping rates as low as possible, without comprising quality of service delivery. Spending can be controlled if the focus is on core local government activities and services, avoiding duplication of Central Government’s programmes.

We need to promote Auckland as a major destination for international and national events and create a congenial environment for entrepreneurs to establish and run their enterprises profitably. The new Council must be result-oriented and help growth of public-private partnerships.

Improve Transport

The new Auckland Council must invest in transport projects that would enable people to travel faster, with little delay in traffic flow. This requires improved road network and a single ticketing system for public transport. The new Auckland Transport Agency must work constructively with the Central Government to complete the motorway network and major arterial routes across the Region.

How to Vote

As a registered voter, you would receive your voting pack between September 17 and 22, 2010. It should contain your voting document, background information about the candidates and a Post-Free Return (Orange) envelope.

You can choose the Mayor, the Councillor and the Local Board, District Health Board (depending on the vacancies within the Ward) and a Licensing Trust, wherever applicable. You should complete your choice and post it before October 6, 2010 in the Post-Free envelope provided.

You could also deposit the envelope in any of Auckland’s public libraries on October 9.

Ram Rai is a Citizen’s & Ratepayers candidate for Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) Local Board in the forthcoming Auckland Council Elections. Phone: 021-655922 Email: ramrai1@xtra.co.nz

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