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Ward Boundary Changes… Grey Lynn Split in Two?

Auckland Council is proposing Waitemata and Gulf Ward boundary changes to split off part of Grey Lynn and all of Westmere into the Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward.

Auckland Council is currently seeking submissions on proposed alterations to the Waitemata and Gulf Ward boundaries that would see part of Grey Lynn and all of Westmere removed from the Waitemata and Gulf Ward and incorporating them within the Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward.

Why are they proposing these ward boundary changes?

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, the population represented by each councillor is supposed to be roughly the same across the city. In our ward we can elect one councillor (Mike Lee is our current representative), and at the moment we have a higher population per councillor than any other part of Auckland.

However, the Local Electoral Act 2001 does allow for the population within a ward to be out of step with the general pattern across the city, where moving the boundaries would result in communities of interest being split, and the joining together of disparate communities.

Auckland Council says that the changes will “create a more balanced population per ward without splitting communities up unnecessarily.”

What would the ward boundary changes mean for Grey Lynn?

The proposed boundary line runs through Coxs Creek to Richmond Road, then along Richmond Road to Surrey Crescent, from Surrey Crescent to Great North Road and then down beside the Grey Lynn Library to the motorway. So, places like Grey Lynn School and St Columba Church would no longer be with the rest of Grey Lynn. This division would also split the shopping centres at Surrey Cres and West Lynn down the middle with shops on one side of the street being part of the Waitemata and Gulf Ward while their neighbours on the opposite side would be in the Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward.

What about the Local Board boundaries – would they be affected?

No, local board boundaries would remain the same. Local board boundaries are supposed to align closely with the ward boundaries. At the moment the board and ward boundaries are aligned in our area. The proposed changes would result in a considerable misalignment of the boundaries of these two bodies in our area.

Grey Lynn Residents Association will submit on this issue. We oppose the alteration to the boundaries in our area for the following reasons:

  • The current boundary of the Waitemata and Gulf Ward runs along Meola Creek through to the motorway and this forms a much more natural and logical western boundary for the ward. This western boundary of the Waitemata and Gulf Ward is also the Waitemata Local Board boundary and it makes good sense for these boundaries to be aligned.
  • If the proposed alteration to the western ward boundary goes ahead then we will end up with some very confusing electoral arrangements. Someone living on the eastern side of Richmond Road would be able to vote for the Waitemata Local Board representatives and a Waitemata and Gulf Ward councillor, while their neighbours on the other side of the road could vote for Waitemata Local Board members and an Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward councillor.
  • The Local Electoral Act 2001 notes the importance of keeping communities of interest together. The shopping centres, Grey Lynn School, St Columba Church and the surrounding communities are surely all part of a community of interest so running a boundary line through and beside them seems nonsensical.
  • If the proposed changes go ahead we will end up with a very complicated situation along the boundary. For example, if there was an issue at one of the shopping centres and the local community and businesses wanted to engage with their local councillor on the matter, they would have to contact one councillor for issues on one side of the street, and another for issues on the other side.
  • There are numerous sports clubs that serve the Grey Lynn area which are located just inside the western edge of the current Waitemata and Gulf Ward. The boundary changes would mean that these sporting groups would be removed from our ward becoming a distant part of the large Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward but still within the Waitemata Local Board area. This seems far from ideal.

Instead of splitting Grey Lynn in two, GLRA has the following suggestions to make…

The proposed boundary changes include moving the boundary in from the eastern side of the ward, thus removing Parnell and Newmarket from the Waitemata and Gulf Ward and incorporating them within the Orakei Ward. The proposal also includes the removal of Eden Terrace from the Waitemata and Gulf Ward and its inclusion in the Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward. These changes will go some way to improving the ratio of population per councillor within the Waitemata and Gulf Ward.

Another area which might sensibly join Parnell and Newmarket in their move from the Waitemata and Gulf Ward to the Orakei Ward is Grafton. The motorway gully from the Strand through Grafton gully forms a natural boundary, with the city on one side, and Parnell, Grafton and Newmarket on the other, so it seems logical to group these suburbs together in a move from Waitemata and Gulf Ward to Orakei Ward.

More information including maps of the proposed changes can be found on the Auckland Council website:
https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/topics-you-can-have-your-say-on/consultation-on-electoral-boundaries-and-representation/Pages/default.aspx#panelLinks

Submissions are due by 11 September 2018

By Tania Mace, 21 August 2018

Comments

  1. Sophia Fiossetti says:

    I don’t want the ward boundary changes. Breaking up Grey Lynn for ward changes , sounds like smoke screen to break up the community so Auckland city counsel can take over the land for overseas investors a lot easier to make money out of a concrete Jungle and sell off more New Zealand land to foreigners. Absolutely not.Thatvis not the type of identity we want. We want to preserve our community and historical homes for New Zealanders. Find somewhere else to stage a hostile take over. That is not the identity we want in Grey Lynn. We want this Auckland council and mayor replaced.
    Sophia Fiossetti
    Grey Lynn Resident.

  2. Donogh Rees says:

    To whom it may Concern,
    I strongly oppose this idea, we are tired of being split as a community by unreasonable ideas to balance numbers. I have lived here for 35 years and feel we are being pushed around to suit political agendas with scant regard of the community. We have been readjusting to the population shifts here with differing culture moving in and have worked hard to encompass and keep the feel of our community and feel it is working well, we do not want you making rules that simply make it hard for us to be united about things and then have to split into two camps to fight the same issues with different boards or panels we have to deal with. If as a community we wish one thing and one board says yes and the other says no we are being further denied our rights and again forced into some kind of legislative apartheid. Please stop trying to split us apart and listen to people not just a rule ridden ideal,
    Nga mihi,
    Donogh Rees

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