About 40 people met with community groups and MPs to discuss the super city proposal and its implications for Waitakere City on Monday night at the Kelston Community Hall.
The meeting was called by Grassroots Action Group (GAG), a West Auckland group formed to enable ordinary people to understand and have their say on the Government’s proposals.
Member Mels Barton said the group was concerned about Waitakere’s local voice not being heard once Waitakere’s 12 councillors are replaced by 20 for the entire Auckland region.
“There’s not really going to be much opportunity for any of us to have a say that’s going to influence those 20 people,” she said.
Green party co-leader Russel Norman described the Government’s handling of the super city as “a forced amalgamation of councils against their will”.
Norman said the select committee was stacked in the Government’s favour with a majority of National and Act Party MPs and the Associate Minister of Local Government chairing it.
He said he would like to see a protest march outside the select committee hearings.
“Auckland needs to express its will,” he said.
Labour MP Phil Twyford said Labour was “horrified” by the way the Government handled the Royal Commission report.
Twyford plans to introduce a private member’s bill that will entrench public ownership of council assets and require a referendum if any future council wants to sell them off.
He suggested that groups like GAG should arrange alternative select committee hearings to allow the public to have more of a say than the actual hearings would allow.
Child advocate for Violence Free Waitakere David Kenkel said there was nothing wrong with the idea of the super city if it was done right.
“What we’re calling for is a longer and more respectful process,” he said.
Kenkel suggested performing a piece of street theatre titled A requiem for Waitakere, about what Waitakere City stood to lose from the super city amalgamation.
Other ideas raised were submission workshops, petitions, and mock auctions of council assets on Trademe, rates boycotts and an information stall.
Labour will hold a public meeting about the select committee process and how to make submission at the Kelston Community Centre, Wednesday June 10, at 7.30pm.