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Auckland’s Current Governance Arrangements

Current governance arrangements in Auckland are complex. Central government, the Auckland Regional Council (“ARC”), seven territorial local authorities (or local councils), and 30 community boards are involved in decision making in the Auckland region.

Central, regional, and local government each has specific responsibilities, but some responsibilities are shared. Broadly speaking, central government has primary responsibility for the delivery of social services such as health, education, and income support. The ARC’s current primary responsibilities include regional environmental regulation, ownership and management of regional parks, regional growth, transport planning, and funding for passenger transport. The seven local councils provide a wide range of property-related infrastructure and services, including land-use planning, resource management, water, waste water, stormwater, solid waste, local roading, and local community facilities. Central, regional, and local councils have different but overlapping responsibilities for transport, parks and reserves, economic development, civil defence, recreation, and events.

The seven local councils are Rodney District, North Shore City, Waitakere City, Auckland City, Manukau City, Papakura District, and Franklin District councils. In addition, most of the region’s local councils also have community boards, which represent smaller geographic areas. These provide input to the decisions of local councils, and may undertake specific delegated local responsibilities. Councils also have the ability to create council-controlled organisations, which provide arms-length infrastructure and service delivery.

The public elects local body politicians to the ARC, territorial authorities, and community boards every three years. The mayors of the local councils are elected directly. The chair of the ARC is elected as a member and appointed as chair by fellow members of the ARC. The following table shows the number of elected representatives for each of the councils in the region – 261 in total.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           





Community Board members

Rodney District Council




North Shore City Council




Waitakere City Council




Auckland City Council




Manukau City Council




Papakura District Council




Franklin District Council




Auckland Regional Council









Central, regional, and local government are all involved, directly or indirectly, in decisions about infrastructure and services. For example, central government appoints boards for Transpower, Land Transport New Zealand, Transit New Zealand, and ONTRACK. Local government appoints the boards for the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, Auckland Regional Holdings, Watercare Services Limited, and local water retailers. There are also several non-governmental corporate agencies that have a significant public impact, including infrastructure providers such as Telecom. There are other examples in each of these categories.


A number of entities are involved in transport infrastructure in Auckland (road, rail, public transport). Central government agencies involved in planning and funding road and rail infrastructure include the Ministry of Transport (transport policy), Land Transport New Zealand (funding and safety management), Transit New Zealand (management and development of State highways), and ONTRACK (management and development of the rail network). Land Transport New Zealand and Transit will be replaced by the New Zealand Transport Agency from 1 July 2008. Regional entities involved in transport planning and public transport include the ARC, the Regional Land Transport Committee, and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. In addition local councils own, build, and manage local roads (all roads that are not State highways).


The following bodies are involved in providing water and waste-water infrastructure and services in the region:

There is one bulk supplier of water and waste-water services in the Auckland region – Watercare.

Each of the seven local councils provides retail water and waste-water services in its district. Four (Rodney District, North Shore City, Waitakere City, and Franklin District) do so directly. Two others (Auckland City and Manukau City) provide these services through council-controlled organisations, Metrowater and Manukau Water, respectively. Papakura District provides these services under a franchise agreement with United Water.

All local authorities are individually responsible for provision of stormwater services.

There is one environmental regulator for water quality and coastal management for the whole region – the ARC.

Ownership of regional assets

Auckland Regional Holdings (“ARH”) is a council-controlled organisation, accountable to the ARC. It was established on 1 July 2004 to own, directly or indirectly, and manage assets in the long-term interests of the region.

As at 30 June 2007, ARH had an asset base of $1.45 billion, including a 100% shareholding in Ports of Auckland Limited, ownership of downtown waterfront land, and cash investments.

The 25 regional parks are owned, administered, and funded by the ARC. Local councils own and operate or participate in the ownership and operation of a broad range of cultural, sporting, and recreational facilities across the region.


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