National Party members are putting pressure on the Government to set up an independent audit of the Auckland City Council and to review its legislation.

Delegates to the party’s northern regional conference at Waitangi at the weekend overwhelmingly passed a remit calling for the audit.

The northern region embraces all the Auckland electorates.

The Prime Minister, John Key, who was not present for the remit debate, said later that  there was a range of views on whether the Auckland Council was doing a good job or not.

“I’ll leave that for others.”

But Rodney delegate Richard Thumath had a warning for Mr Key.

He said people needed Council decisions were being made by people “pig ignorant” of the real issues.

“Ignore the problem of the Auckland Council and a huge block of National voters will become disillusioned with the Government and we can kiss a fourth term goodbye,” he said.

Another Rodney delegate, Jennie Georgetti, said there had been enormous rate increases with no accountability.

“We hear stories every day of the waste and lack of organisation of this Council,.” She said.


A Councillor, who was also a delegate, Linda Cooper, said she opposed the remit but thought that the Act setting up the Council needed review.

“I think the model is flawed,” she said.

“I think at the time when it was put together there were some basic flaws and responses to the submissions which are just not working,” she said.

Brian Walsh said the Tamaki electorate strongly supported the need for a review of the legislation governing the Council.

“It was introduced at speed,” he said.

“Most of it works well enough but with the hindsight of five years experience it certainly needs a review.

“Some things they did get wrong and they need correcting.”

There were also questions about the Council’s relationship with the Ports of Auckland.

But again Mr Key kicked for touch. He said it was up to the Auckland Council to make the case for its actions to the public.

“I think that in reality they are going to have to deal with these big ships that are coming in, so the question is where is the most efficient place to do that,” he said.

“I’m not thee expert but on balance Auckland probably is.”

But privately National’s Auckland MPs are plainly worried about the potential for the ports issue to damage them.

In part the matter has become confused because such is the opposition among potential National voters to Mayor Len Brown that the instinctively oppose anything he appears to be in favour of such as the port extension.

As one MP said, “it’s finely balanced” at present with obviously even the Prime Minister leaving himself an escape route if the pressure on the port to back off its planned extension becomes too intense.