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HRC Calls For Longer Submission Times In Auckland City Changes

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 16 NZPA - People need more time to consider super city legislation and the submissions period should be doubled, the Human Rights Commission says.

It also supports a call for separate Maori representation on the new super city council.

The Auckland governance legislation select committee has begun a marathon session to consider almost 2500 submissions on the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill.

Commissioner Judy McGregor appeared before it today. In a statement she said the public submission period should be doubled to 12 weeks.

"We feel this would allow Auckland citizens to have the opportunity to have their say in a measured and purposeful manner," she said.

The 12-week period from the first reading for submissions should apply to the third bill due to be introduced in October.

The statement said the bill the public was considering was very different from the Royal Commission recommendations and the short time frame had limited the chance for consultation with those most affected.

Legislation should make it clear that the new super city council had human rights responsibilities.

Ms McGregor said the new council needed to act as a good employer to the thousands of local government staff affected by the changes.

Other recommendations included:

* a voter education campaign;

* the legislation to provide for specific Mori seats "as a Treaty of Waitangi obligation and to reflect mana whenua representation";

* and measures to be take to ensure women are represented on the council and boards.

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