Although the focus is on Auckland some aspects of �what is good by rrboy


									Raymond Skinner                                                                         RC 10907

                                                   Supplement to

       Submission to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance
                                                    22nd April 2008

                                                   Table of Contents

                        1.         Introduction                                                2
                        2.         More Than Auckland                                          2
                        3.         Framework for a World Class Region                          2
                        4.         Globilisation                                               3
                        5.         Leadership                                                  4
                        6.         Culture                                                     8
                        7.         Efficiency and Effectiveness – Potential Dichotomy          9
                        8.         Auckland Not an Island – More Global Issues                 9
                        9.         Competencies of Elected and Appointed Representatives     11
                        10.        Span of Control                                           12
                        11.        Democratic Process - Elections                            13
                        12.        Part-Time v Full-time Roles                               13
                        13.        Empowerment                                               14
                        14.        Regional and Local Government Employees                   14
                        15.        Purchasing                                                15

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Raymond Skinner                                                                  RC 10907

1. Introduction
     This document canvasses a few of the matters raised in the Call for Submissions document
     dated March 2008. It also raises some matters not in the document. The incomplete
     coverage results from a lack of time rather than a disinterest in the many questions quite
     rightly posed. Nor do the topics selected ascribe a greater degree of importance to them
     than the other topics; all of them are important.

     The situation is complex and has evolved over many years.

     There is no single right or best solution to the issues the Commission has been tasked to

2. More Than Auckland
     The Terms of Reference clearly state the Commission‘s task is specific to Auckland; its
     unique issues and circumstances, and that it is not to inquire in to the extent which
     recommendations relating to the Auckland region may also be appropriately implemented in
     other regions across New Zealand.

     Notwithstanding this outcomes of the Commission‘s work could include generic concepts,
     principles and ideas applicable across the country as a whole. Thus the impacts of the
     Commission‘s work could be far more reaching than is immediately apparent. This could be
     especially so if the recommendations are, where practicable, developed by using a
     framework and first principles approach.

3. Framework for a World Class Region
     [Paragraph 22 and Question 3.]

     Paragraph 22 provides some suggested high level attributes for a world-class city.
     Presumably this and other paragraphs are intended to refer to a world-class region, as after
     due process there may remain more than one city in the legal sense.

     Rather than suggesting a structure I would like to see a framework developed from first
     principles outlining what those attributes of a first class city/region are perceived to be.
     Many cities and regions, if not most, seek to be first-class. The term may be over-used and

     It may for example be appropriate to identify attributes which distinguish and differentiate
     Auckland from other locations; ―Been in one shopping mall, seen them all.‖ ―A McDonalds
     hamburger in Atlanta is the some as one in Zurich.‖ The answers to this could have
     significant impacts on the design of governance structures to address the perceived

     The process to develop the first principles should study the governance structures in other
     cities/regions to establish;
               What is working for them and why?
               What is not working for them and why not?
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Raymond Skinner                                                                          RC 10907
               What would they do differently and why?
               What is the nature of the statutory relationship with central or state
                government and its agencies including revenue sharing?
               What services do they provide and why?
               What unique or special factors apply to them; arising from accidents of
                history or for any other reason?
               Is the present structure a designed structure or one which ‗happened‘? If
                the former what criteria were used to determine the design?
               What learnings are in this for Auckland? What risks and opportunities
                does it disclose?

     Conceivably the first principles might include issues relating to urban design, safety, health,
     happiness (does not necessarily infer being economically well off), easy to get around,
     education, heritage preservation (much broader than heritage buildings), sport and
     recreation, community involvement, sense of connectedness with place and people,
     reducing ‗footprint‘ (resource use including carbon and energy). Such issues and numerous
     others may of course be implicit in paragraph 22.

     An inter-related aspect is the degree of involvement and support or otherwise by central
     government as this affects the ability of regional and local governments to perform their role.
     For example, government policies directly impact the affordability of housing which in turn
     affects numerous other dimensions of peoples‘ lives and hence their perception of the
     success, safety and liveability of the region. Also key policy documents such as the Energy
     Strategy and strategic Plan of Action

     New Zealand central government policy may be the primary cause of deskilling of the
     country‘s workforce. This could be one of the factors in the region contributing to widening
     the rich poor gap and reducing the ability of families to support themselves on the income a
     single breadwinner. Local and regional government entities do not operate in a vacuum and
     are highly interconnected to a wide range of influences, many of which are outside their
     direct control or influence.

     Concurrent with that all levels of local and regional government often need to invest an
     inordinate amount of time energy and financial resources in making cases to the next senior
     level of government to make their case heard and understood and to achieve desired
     outcomes. The same of course applies to citizens. It is appropriate however for there to be
     tension between these different levels, it is though a matter of how that is managed.

4. Globilisation
      [Paragraph 22.]
      In discussing the attributes of a world-class city the paragraph makes passing reference to
      ―…attractive to…capital from overseas…‖ This is an aspect of ‗globalisation‘ and there is
      increasing disquiet among academics and others that this may not be such a good thing as
      there can be, and are, substantial downsides.

      Those downsides include;
         Exporting profits overseas – directly as profits, or via transfer pricing

ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                      Page 3 of 15
Raymond Skinner                                                                    RC 10907
               Exporting jobs overseas – as currently seen happening in the financial and
                manufacturing sectors, especially in ‗lower level‘ roles
               Reducing local operations to branch offices of overseas parents and hence
                depriving people in New Zealand from skill and personal development
                opportunities – the same is occurring in Australia and is a major concern
               Sale of businesses to overseas interests not necessarily having successful
                outcomes as seen from the sale of the innovative Navman to overseas
                interests and subsequent events
               Exacerbation of foreign exchange deficits and impacts on the rate of
                exchange and foreign exchange rate volatility
               Increased exposure to adverse financial events overseas such as those
                arising from the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market e.g. through the
                overseas owned banks increasing their interest rates as they seek to
                minimise their exposures to those risks
               A contributor to the reduction of New Zealand‘s manufacturing capabilities
                and depth and breadth of the sector
               Reduced investment opportunities for New Zealanders in New Zealand and
                especially to the Crown Financial Institutions (ACC, Govt Super Fund,
                National Super Fund, Earthquake Commission) and the funds now accruing
                from KiwiSaver
               Increasing concerns that New Zealand more and more businesses and land
                is no longer owned by New Zealanders.

     The clamour for capital from overseas entities may come from narrow interests with little
     consideration of the big picture and long-term impacts on the country as a whole, including
     its culture and identity as a nation. It seems that overseas investments adds little to the
     country and most times is possibly little else than a transfer of ownership of something which
     exists rather than creating some fresh and adding real value.

5. Leadership
     A key issue relating to the Auckland region is that of leadership – the skills and attributes of
     those in governance roles. This coupled with parochialism. There can also be divisiveness
     arising from attachment of individuals to ‗tickets‘ and from the alignment of individuals to
     vested interests, especially those associated with ‗big business‘.

     We have seen over many years at Auckland City Council ‗capture‘ of the political process by
     the ‗right‘ and some say Auckland City has had, and currently has, the council it deserves
     rather than the council it needs.

     There is increasing evidence to suggest governance structures for nations, regions and
     communities need to be structured so they have resiliency to cope with change and huge
     uncertainty. This aside from risk management pertaining to natural disasters such as
     earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
     In a paper Leadership as the Ultimate Storm Approaches written for Leadership New
     Zealand, Dr Morgan Williams, then Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, wrote
     (The paper was written in 2005 and unfortunately is not available on the Internet);

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Raymond Skinner                                                                       RC 10907
                ―The next few decades will place the greatest demands for leadership, from
                  families and governments to international agencies, that humanity has ever
                  known. Why? Because we are all facing the biggest changes in our
                  habitats and climate that humans have ever had to endure. They are
                  changes that will, in a relatively few years, show our current global
                  preoccupation with terrorism to have been a costly distraction.

                ―… the phase will be highly unpredictable. Dramatic changes are likely over
                  quite short time-spans. This will necessitate fundamental changes in
                  virtually every aspect of human existence; the most urgent being deep in
                  our social, economic and political constructs.

                ―This message had yet to sink in, [Sir] John [Elkington] says, because
                  ‗Politicians and corporate leaders generally have not grasped that the 21st
                  century will be fundamentally and significantly different from the last century
                  and they don‘t seem to appreciate what that difference means.‘

                ―… But changing course is very tough because of the depth and breadth of
                  new learning and leadership required.

               ―… Being a leader is all about working with others. While taking leadership
                personally is important, supporting others and thinking team is the ultimate
                determinant of success…‖

     It is also pertinent to quote extensively from the preface of Dr Morgan‘s June 1998 report
     The Cities and Their People: New Zealand's Urban Environment

               ―….. New Zealand is coming of age in the sense that in little more than a
                 century we have moved from being a predominantly rural, natural resource-
                 based nation, to a predominantly urban people with a much more diverse
                 range of wealth-generating businesses. While this is no different from many
                 other nations‘ evolution, New Zealand has, in common with Australia,
                 compressed this transition into an extremely short timeframe. As a
                 consequence, I believe we are still getting to grips with the challenges and
                 opportunities of the New Zealand city and town.

               ―Cities are clearly very complex, highly managed ecosystems. Successful
                 cities in economic, social and environmental terms appear to be those that,
                 like a good business, have leaders with vision, good strategic planning, and
                 strong partnerships between city government (the city business), community
                 and commerce. This partnership is essential because urban areas require
                 high levels of infrastructure investment - frequently across a wider range of
                 systems than rural areas, which tend to have high investment in roading
                 infrastructures. The significant risk in many parts of urban New Zealand is
                 the under investment in urban infrastructures and the lack of a cohesive
                 approach to its evolution. Cities and towns, like businesses, need ongoing
                 investment in their plant: water, waste management, transport, libraries,
                 sports fields, museums etc.

               ―Urban areas need the capacity to craft visions for the future, plan for the
                 realisation of those visions and, of course invest in the infrastructure to
                 achieve it all. Many of New Zealand‘s urban authorities have faltered in all
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Raymond Skinner                                                                      RC 10907
                  these areas, not helped by persistent central government criticism of some
                  of their efforts and the investments needed to achieve them. An ongoing
                  strategic risk is the lack of clear central government, local government and
                  community partnerships in terms of how all this should be achieved. The
                  debates about roading reform and the future of the Auckland Regional
                  Services Trust are classic examples of the tension between central
                  government, local government and communities in terms of infrastructure
                  investment and management of the environment. The recently released
                  Draft Regional Growth Strategy for Auckland is, however, a positive
                  example of how our thinking about our urban systems needs to proceed.

     Dr Morgan‘s June 2002 report Showing the way: Curitiba: Citizen City is especially cogent to
     the task at hand for the Commission as there are strong lessons there about what could be
     good for the Auckland region (;

                ―On the southern plateau of Brazil one city, Curitiba, has lifted itself out of
                  tough circumstances, by the strength of good design and cohesive political
                  leadership. T he results are highly visible and show how to combine a
                  healthy ecology, a vibrant economy and a society that nurtures people.

               “3.1 Leadership and Vision
                ―Consistent, cohesive leadership has been a key ingredient of the city's
                 success since the late 1960s. Those in leadership roles—mayors,
                 councillors, city agencies and departments, business leaders—have strong
                 values. They care, they are inspirational, they display genuine leadership
                 qualities, working together to develop solutions to problems and they
                 appear to have had fun doing it. They genuinely seem to 'live the dream' of
                 the Curitiba they want future generations to inherit.

                ―Mayors over the last 32 years have consistently articulated a vision based on
                 the quality of life for all. A clear direction has been established and a
                 framework set that allows for innovation and flexibility. Risk-taking appears
                 to be encouraged, in line with a philosophy of finding simple, pragmatic
                 solutions and implementing them quickly.

                ―The Curitibans have very deliberately fostered a leadership group, to a large
                 degree from within the central planning organisation for the city (IPPUC),
                 and thus built capacity in the institutions and community over the last three

                ―There are several instances of professionals from the planning institute
                 going on to stand for election, or being appointed to head key agencies. The
                 current mayor, the President of the Urban Transport Authority (URBS) and
                 the State Governor all started their careers in IPPUC. All of this has
                 contributed to the organic feeling of integrated leadership, consistency,
                 continuity and integrity.

                ―The fact that the Curitiban vision has been shared by most senior politicians,
                 over most of the past 35 years, has led to consistency of development.

               “Annex V: Curitiba City Governance

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Raymond Skinner                                                                     RC 10907
                ―The City Council consists of 36 elected councilors and a Mayor. There is a
                 four year electoral cycle for the Mayor, who cannot hold consequent terms
                 but may be re-elected. The council is elected bi-annually and is presided
                 over by a President, elected by the Councilors. The President's role appears
                 similar to that of the speaker of our House of Representatives.

                ―The Councilors and the Mayor are aligned with carious political parties, with
                 the current council having a majority (24 members) on the council. The
                 Mayor is currently of the same party as the council majority, which in
                 combination with his statutory role, gives great powers to the Mayor. He is
                 responsible for health and education services as well as all the usual local
                 government functions.

                ―There is an operational hierarchy of Federal, State and local laws, For
                 example, rivers are Federal, waste is now a State matter, roads within the
                 city are local. Shops, schools and banking hours are a local matter, hence
                 the ability to adjust them to manage transport capacities.

                ―The Council operates via administrative departments (staffed by a mix of civil
                 servants and contract staff) plus a suite of semi autonomous agencies such
                 as COHAB (housing), URBS (transport), IPPUC (urban research), FASA
                 (social action foundation) and CITIPAR (economic development).

                ―The cities current budget is R$1.6 billion (NZ$ 1.6B) raised via local rates
                 and sales taxes (R$50M) plus state and federal monies.

     [I understand these semiautonomous agencies, especially the IPPUC, are outside the political
       process and among other things act as think tanks providing unbiased credible input to the
       governance body and decision-makers. I would suggest the Commission contact Dr Williams and
       obtain his input – he has visited there several times and has been accompanied by a range of New

     It is also pertinent to refer the Commission to two other reports prepared by Dr Morgan;
             Managing Change in Paradise: Sustainable Development in Peri-urban
              Areas. July 2001.

                A review of the environmental planning and management carried out to
                ensure the sustainable development of peri-urban areas in New Zealand.
                The report highlights the complexity and variety of approaches adopted and
                seriously questions the adequacy and effectiveness of these in achieving
                desirable                      environmental                     outcomes

               Beyond Ageing Pipes: Urban Water Systems for the 21st Century.            April

                Following on from the discussion paper Ageing pipes and murky waters (PCE
                June 2000), this report presents the findings of the PCE's investigation into
                urban water systems. The report highlights issues such as the fragmented
                nature of waters management, the importance of raising stakeholder
                awareness of the issues, pricing and charging for water services and placing
                urban      water      systems        into     an      ecological      context

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Raymond Skinner                                                                    RC 10907
6. Culture
     Entity culture both at a governance level and at an organisational level can have huge
     consequences on outcomes.

     This aspect is possibly the most important factor which has lead to the establishment of this
     Royal Commission. It is part of the divisiveness which pervades the Auckland region and
     there are probably a mix of factors which have varied over time. That is not to say there
     have not been good examples of goodwill and cooperation. The culture may at times be
     partly to do with aspirations of power and influence. It may be partly to do in some instances
     with self-aggrandisement. It may be partly to do with lack of trust in the ‗other fellow‘. It may
     be a case of strong minds and temperaments.

     Research of files in Auckland City Archives going back to about the 1880‘s through to about
     the 1960‘s and from the days ‗Auckland‘ was a series of small villages lead me to the
     conclusion that these issues have been alive and well throughout the region‘s history. They
     are not modern issues and it seems they have existed regardless of the local government
     arrangements in place for the region; this is a perception and may not be completely valid.

     Aside from that I have observed the situation on the North Shore for a period of about 40
     years; since the time the North Shore was governed by a number of small borough councils
     and at one time part was part of Waitemata County Council. My perception is Takapuna
     Brought Council, followed by Takapuna City Council, followed by North Shore City Council
     has reasonably consistently declined to participate in contributing to the funding of regional
     services and assets other than in a minimal way.

     Concurrent with that it is my impression other councils periodically have a perception
     Auckland City acts in ways which they perceive as inappropriate.

     Both of these perceptions may warrant solid academic research to either deny or confirm
     them; especially as they may be undeserved.

     It is my perception that regardless of structures, if there is a will for co-operation, shared
     values and aspirations, trust among elected members and members of communities, then
     existing structures could work very well; albeit recognising adjustments for some aspects of
     present arrangements may well be warranted.

     Certainly the web of relationships between the councils, and the peripheral organisations
     including Government agencies such as the Land Transport, Transit, Ontrack and numerous
     others is to say the least complex as demonstrated by the two Power Point slides Current
     Auckland Governance and Current Auckland Transport Governance at

     A perceived example of how well things can and do work across the existing structure is the
     library system. The city and district councils cooperated on the purchase, installation and
     operation of a software package which is operated (I understand) seamlessly as a single unit
     across all the councils. It was introduced and operates seemingly without fuss. Did this
     occur primarily because of the types of persona and skills with which librarians are
     endowed? If that is the case capture of that spirit could provide a substantial component of
     what is being sought.

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Raymond Skinner                                                                  RC 10907
7. Efficiency and Effectiveness – Potential Dichotomy
     [Paragraph 28 (c) Efficient Resource Use]

     Over many years I have observed legislative-driven organisational changes and divestments
     affecting central and local government entities. These include the electricity sector (power
     boards/NZED/Power Planning Commission) and the 1989 local government reorganisation.

     An oft-cited aspect of theses has been increased efficiency and reductions in the cost of
     service delivery and improved service. To my knowledge I have not seen research
     demonstrating the achievement of these goals. It is my perception the quest for enhanced
     efficiency, has in addition to the reduction of employment opportunities, resulted in the
     decimation of workforce education, training, and skill development throughout the country.

     This has had, and continues to have, serious economic impacts on the country. We see this
     in the trades and professions, where for example no one wishes to train new entrants to the
     workforce. It is one of the key factors, I believe, for example in the substandard design,
     supervision, certification and workmanship of homes i.e. the weather tightness issue which is
     endemic in new housing. There are huge economic and social costs for home owners aside
     from additional burdens on everyone involved in the home building chain.

     Thus whilst efficiency is a desirable goal careful consideration should always be given to the
     impacts – and often they are not immediately apparent as the interdependencies are not
     considered or well thought through. This can apply especially where the impacts (including
     direct monetary costs) are transferred to some other party.

     I have come to the conclusion there are instances where organisations which are perceived
     to be inefficient can be very effective. This applies no less to entities involved in the
     governance of the Auckland Region.

     It is also my perception small organisations, such as the former Northcote Borough Council
     can be very effective. This is also mirrored in recent reports of the Controller and Auditor
     General where some of the best LTCCP‘s he has audited have been prepared by small
     councils. From this it seems bigger is not always better or best.

     Since the 1989 local government amalgamation two particular observations are;
               Loss of local knowledge
               Staff not having a strong link with the community.

     These outcomes are related to increased size of organisations. Consequential outcomes
     can be reduced employee job satisfaction and increased staff churn and attendant increases
     in staff recruitment and retention expense. Coupled with this here seem to be perceptions of
     reduced service quality and responsiveness; part of the accessibility and accountability issue
     posed by Question 11.

8. Auckland Not an Island – More Global Issues
     [Paragraph 28 (d) Responsiveness]

     The world as a whole is experiencing considerable change; possibly on a scale never before
     seen. That change will occur over an extended period; perhaps 50 or 100 years or more.
     Aspects of that change will impact the region and will increasingly need to be catered for by
     the region‘s governance bodies; change the region will not be able to directly control or
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Raymond Skinner                                                                    RC 10907
     influence. Governance bodies and organisations require capacity to devise strategy and
     tactics, and possess the skill to convert thinking in to appropriate action.

     The timing, scale and impacts of those issues will be, and is, open to debate, conjecture and
     uncertainty. In particular there are changes evolving from climate (Climate Change), the
     availability and price of oil (Peak Oil), depletion and shortages of raw materials upon which
     ‗advanced‘ societies so heavily depend (―Peak Everything: Waking Up to a Century of
     Declines‖ and the consequential substantial and far-
     reaching effects, possibly including the depopulation of cities and re-ruralisation.

     Some say there is already evidence suggesting impacts from these issues are beginning to
     arise. There could for example be substantial impacts on the type and scale of transport
     infrastructures required, on infrastructure and land inundation arising from rising sea levels,
     and more severe and unpredictable weather events. There could also be substantial
     economic events arising from these. For example the ability to export and hence process
     primary produce may be substantially curtailed. There could be substantial reductions in
     shipping and air travel demand (because of price, availability of fuel and so on).

     One of the numerous effects of climate change is expected to be many millions of people in
     low-lying regions such as Bangladesh being dispossessed of their land, livelihoods and
     homes. Such population movements are already occurring in the Pacific. In due time New
     Zealand is likely to experience substantial population inflows; inflows it may have little or no
     control over. These will impact Auckland.

     A key issue arising on a worldwide scale and is already being felt in New Zealand, especially
     in rural communities is water; its availability and quality. Ultimately this will have flow
     through impacts on Auckland and may already be affecting Pukekohe – a key source of
     Auckland‘s food.

     Thus, the governance structures and the people operating within those structures should
     have the organisational structures, foresight, capacity, capability and resilience to
     appropriately deal with such issues. Issues which could be on a scale never before
     experienced by ‗modern‘ humankind except perhaps those experienced by Cuba as a
     consequence of the break-up of the Eastern European the 1990‘s.

     Potentially the issues for Auckland, and New Zealand, could be similar to those outlined in
     the short documentary film ―The Power of the Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil‖. .
     Featuring Roberto Perez who visited New Zealand in March 2008 Roberto spoke about how
     Havana was transformed in to a sustainable city through the power of the people as they
     endeavoured to meet their needs. He offered viable solutions and clear steps forward
     towards designing communities for long-term resiliency. Some insights may be found at

     Substantive elements of these issues were canvassed and discussed in depth at the North
     Shore City Council‘s Peak Oil Workshop held 10th October 2007; about 80 people attended
     from local and regional councils and from their communities. Organised by Archer Davis,
     Group Manager for Transport Policy and Planning, North Shore City Council. A key speaker
     was Richard Heinberg. Two examples of his thought leadership are;
               Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines In dealing with the
                issues Richard said in March 2008; ‖There's no single right way. We need to
                support each other's strategies. Those who are excluded from the process will
                feel left out and may undermine the strategy.‖
ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                  Page 10 of 15
Raymond Skinner                                                                       RC 10907
                p. The book‘s 27 page introduction is at
               Resilient Communities - Paths for Powering Down: An Exercise in Strategic
                Thinking at

     At that event participants developed an extensive list of potential and likely impacts on North
     Shore City and beyond; the ideas were fully transferable and not specific solely to the North
     Shore. To my knowledge those ideas have yet to be published; they were to be collated and
     used for input in to long term planning.

     At another event Auckland-specific issues for 100 years ahead were explored in a series of
     presentations held during May 2007. Four prominent Aucklanders sought to answer the
               What Auckland will look like in 2050 taking into account the trends in oil
                depletion, climate change and environmental degradation?

     The presenters were asked to address:
               What needs to be done to minimise harmful impacts?
               What will the character of life in the Auckland region be in 2050?
               What are the major issues that we face? What will it be like to live in, work in,
                and get around Auckland in 2050?‖

     The questions are very pertinent to the questions the Commission is seeking to address;
         Monday 7 May: Mike Lee (Auckland Regional Council, chairman)
           What will the shape and nature of the Auckland region be in 2050? What are the
           major issues that we face?
         Monday 21 May: Joel Cayford (Auckland Land Transport Committee)
           What will transport look like in 2050? How will we get to, from and around
         Monday 28 May: Nick Collins (Beacon Pathway, CEO)
           What will the building scene look like in 2050? What will our houses and the built
           environment look like?
               Tuesday 5 June: Rod Oram (Business commentator)
                What will the Auckland regional economy look like in 2050? What will our jobs
                look like?

     Regrettably the very cogent presentations are not available on the Internet.

9. Competencies of Elected and Appointed Representatives
     A substantial issue in central, regional and territorial government, and associated entities is
     the competencies or otherwise of their members – the people‘s representatives.

     With the substantial increases in local, regional and central government scale and
     complexity over the last 150 years it is notable those who are chosen to represent
     communities in New Zealand do not need any briefing, training, or education to prepare them
     for governance roles in those entities before they stand for election and there seems to be
ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                     Page 11 of 15
Raymond Skinner                                                                   RC 10907
     limited education post-election. Whilst ‗common sense‘, and life‘s experiences may provide
     some excellent capabilities it seems many people who seek, or accept appointments to such
     entities are ill prepared for their roles.

     Although most are hard working and put their perceptions of community needs to the fore
     they may often lack the basics to operate substantial complex entities. It is often said some
     people seek office for self-aggrandisement or to fulfil the political aspirations of the
     Government of the day. Yet, communities expect, and in some cases mandate, a wide
     range of people to be qualified or certified in some way before they are able to carry out their
     trade or profession; gasfitters, physiotherapists, civil engineers, lawyers and childcare
     workers to name a few.

     The absence of formal training which would ensure there is some core knowledge and core
     competencies could be one of the reasons why some public entities struggle and it could be
     among the (unarticulated) issues leading for the creation of this Commission.

     At the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development strategy forum held
     in Auckland on 7th November 2007 under the auspices of Sustainable Aotearoa New
     Zealand ( participants were informed that in Norway people who seek
     election to Parliament must, as a pre-condition, participate in a three month course on
     ‗sustainability‘. Forum participants who represented a broad cross-section from different
     parts of the country extended this idea and agreed with the suggestion that by 2014 there
           A compulsory requirement for all people seeking electoral office (central and local
            government) and government appointment to boards etc to undergo a training period
            in sustainable development and other civic issues before offering themselves for
     (Refer page 7of
     The sources were people born in Scandinavia and others who had visited the region.)

10. Span of Control
     In the public discussion regarding possible new governance structures for the region there
     have been suggestions that up to approximately 38 community boards report direct to a peak
     governance body (council).

     Management theory suggests such span of control – especially when applied to employees
     in an organisation – is too broad. The suggested maximum is about eight. This to provide a
     setting where there can be meaningful dialogue, management, accountability and so on. It
     also affects the sense of connectedness and the ability to be heard and to influence. The
     same concepts may be transferable to governance bodies. Potentially very broad spans of
     control can be a logistical nightmare for elected representatives, people in communities and
     for the staff within those organisations.

     It would be useful therefore, should such a model be considered for Auckland, to understand
     how well local government in say London and New York function where there are apparently
     a similar number of boroughs working ‗under‘ a higher level council. How well does it work?
     What are the problems and successes for them with this mode and why?

ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                 Page 12 of 15
Raymond Skinner                                                                     RC 10907

11. Democratic Process - Elections
     Especially since the 1989 elections I and others have noticed there is an increasing
     disconnect between communities and those who stand for office, particularly for roles at
     large and ‗higher level‘ organisations. This is particularly noticeable for example in DHB
     elections where 30 or 40 candidates may stand for a small number of positions. Similarly for
     the Regional Council. It is also apparent, although to a lesser degree, for councillor and
     mayoral roles.

     Not only is it very challenging for those who seek election, but it is equally challenging for
     electors. This may in part account for reduced voter outturns in recent years.

     Associated with this is the effort and cost individuals need to expend to get known, get their
     messages across about themselves and their policies and so on. The more ‗disconnected‘
     they are the more difficult it becomes.

12. Part-Time v Full-time Roles
     Especially at council level (local and regional) increased size and complexity of the work of
     entities seems to require more time commitment from elected members. This is certainly the
     case for mayors and chairs of committees; as it is also for diligent and pro-active councillors.

     It is a reasonable proposition that effective governance of larger entities in the region is
     almost certain to require full-time commitment of a large percentage of elected members.

     Should councils become larger than they are now such roles could very well become less
     attractive to people who might otherwise aspire to be elected. Those people may be the
     very ones which the entities require; people with community insights and connections – this
     aside from those who seek office at community board level or similar.

     People who gain office have the risk of burnout and loss of work-life balance which in a
     general sense are becoming more to the fore in our communities. Such impacts on elected
     members do not auger well for good visioning, strategic thinking or decision-making.

     There is also the issue of income. Part-time elected members can often (and often with
     difficulty) juggle a full-time job and attend to council business. As the demands of council
     activity increase e.g. as Hearing Commissioners, Annual Plan hearings and the like there is
     an increasing possibility that wage and salary earners are unable to participate. It is thus
     reasonable to recompense them fairly and appropriately. However, should they divest
     themselves of the normal work they face the eventual risk of experiencing difficulty in getting
     back in the paid employment which reasonably meets their needs and aspirations.

     Consequently, except for those who are financially secure, there can be considerable
     disincentives to seek office.

     Hence any governance structures put in place as an outcome of the current review process
     should weigh up these very real issues.

     Although absolute numbers of councillors could potentially decrease under scenarios being
     proposed costs could actually increase because of the need for increased remuneration and
     the prospect of requiring additional support services and facilities.

ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                  Page 13 of 15
Raymond Skinner                                                                      RC 10907

13. Empowerment
     As part of the democratic process it is particularly important, should the population size
     and/or the geographic size of the region‘s governance bodies increase, that there be strong,
     connected, transparent, responsive and accountable community boards or similar. Those
     boards would need to be empowered (and financed) to think and act locally, and to be strong
     influencers of the peak governance body(s).

     This in a context where in some existing councils community boards in some instances seem
     to have been denied such influence and where financial resources seem to have often been
     directed to the wealthier socio economic areas. This may happen in part because the people
     elected to represent those areas may be more articulate and highly skilled in governance
     and management issues than those from low socio economic areas. Such skewing can lead
     to community disenchantment. Yet the people from those areas may in reality have better
     visioning and strategic capabilities, and value-based thinking.

14. Regional and Local Government Employees
     A key issue in the consideration of governance structures are issues relating to those who
     work, or who in the future will work, in them.

     The following dimensions can come in to play in large organisations;
               More roles become more highly specialised. While in the short term such roles can
                be attractive to individuals their long-term career prospects, personal growth and
                development can be thwarted. In worst-case scenarios they can ultimately become
                unemployable by others.
               More roles can become increasingly de-skilled. A characteristic of such roles is, low
                pay, high staff turnover, lack of ‗connection‘ with the organisation and its customers
                and increased (hidden) costs. There is also increased risk of such roles being
                exported to other countries.
               Staff at all levels become disconnected from the communities they seek to serve.
                Micro level knowledge of communities, infrastructure, concerns and issues, and so
                on can be lost and ‗desensitisation‘ occur. Not only can this have direct and indirect
                impacts on costs it can have adverse impacts on residents‘ perceptions of service
                quality and their connectedness with councils; adds to the sense of disempowered
                and affects the willingness to engage. Effective consultation and engagement with
                communities becomes more difficult and potentially less effective.
               There can also be an increased feeling among staff of the (low) value placed on their
                efforts to be heard and their endeavours to make improvements in quality of service
                delivery and organisational performance. It is so much more difficult the larger
                organisations become

     As an adjunct to a reduction in the number of entities there would very likely be decreased
     opportunities for staff to have reasonable career paths in the sector. This arises through
     there being fewer roles of particular types and with larger ‗jumps‘ between roles. This could
     work to the disadvantage of entities as much as to individual staff members.

ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                   Page 14 of 15
Raymond Skinner                                                                    RC 10907
15. Purchasing
     Aggregation of organisations are more likely to lead eventually to contracts for purchasing of
     all supplies and services, including professional services and physical works maintenance
     and construction work, to be aggregated in to larger contracts. The risks include;
          Reduction of competition in the market place
               Reduction of capabilities in the market place as firms which can no longer
                reasonably capture work loose custom and go out of business
               Reduction of the number of suppliers as large players see the opportunities
                and with access to capital gradually buy-out the smaller players and capture
                the market
               Reduction of job opportunities for residents
               Trickle down impacts on related services providers in local communities
               Increased ‗detachment‘ of workers as more work is done in other
                communities rather than their local communities
               Potential the transfer of (more) profits overseas

      This is not to say there cannot be benefits, however these tend to be overstated and the
      risks understated. There is also a tendency for non-financial impacts not to be taken in to

ab6cee87-0e64-4407-aeec-ff5da84917ab.doc                                                  Page 15 of 15

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