Royal Commission on Auckland Governance
May I begin by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language. Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and as it is the afternoon (Sign).
May I specifically greet you: Hon Peter Salmon, QC, Chief Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance and your fellow commissioners Dame Margaret Bazley and David Shand; Brendan Boyle, Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs; Distinguished Guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is with pleasure that I welcome you to Government House Vogel for this small ceremony to receive the report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.
The reporting back of a Royal Commission is not an everyday event.
While their work is the same in form and function as a Commission of Inquiry, they differ in that they are appointed under the Letters Patent which constitute the Office of Governor-General.
From a personal perspective, this is the first inquiry that has been initiated since I was appointed as Governor-General and the first to report back during my tenure.
It is also the first Royal Commission since Sir Thomas Eichelbaum chaired the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, which reported in 2000.
The reports of Royal Commissions have often had far ranging impacts on public policy throughout the years. Some notable examples include Sir Owen Woodhouse's 1966 Royal Commission on Worker's Compensation, which led to the Accident Compensation Scheme, or my predecessor, Sir David Beattie's 1976 Royal Commission on Courts, which resulted in the creation of the High Court and District Courts with jury trials. Other examples include the 1985 Royal Commission on the Electoral System, chaired by Hon John Wallace, which led to New Zealand adopting MMP, and indeed the report of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.
While not Royal Commissions, the Commission on Inquiry by my predecessor Dame Silvia Cartwright into issues related to cancer treatment at National Women's Hospital, and Dame Margaret's inquiry into Police Conduct, have been equally far reaching.
By virtue of its population and the size of its regional economy, Auckland plays a significant role in our country. It is something we all know, although those of us who live on this side of the Bombay Hills try pretend that isn't. But as the commissioners noted in their Open Letter to the community when they began their work: "To ensure a strong future for New Zealand as well as for Auckland, the issue of Auckland's local government arrangements is of vital importance. When Auckland thrives, New Zealand thrives."
It is with great pleasure that I formally receive the report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance. As one who was born and raised in Auckland, I will read your report with much interest.
As Governor-General, I would like to formally thank the Royal Commissioners for their work in preparing the report and congratulate them on the diligence they have brought to your duties. As I said at a reception at Government House in Auckland last year, it was a pleasure to appoint you to this task as you had considerable experience that I am sure aided you in your work.
In formally presenting your report a few days before the deadline in your warrant, your work is now completed and you are discharged from your duties. Thank you again for your service.
It is now over to the Government, with assistance from the Department of Internal Affairs, to consider this report and decide the path forward. Mr Boyle, as Chief Executive of the Department, I place this report in your trust.
And on that note, I will close in New Zealand's first language Māori, by offering everyone greetings and wishing you all good health and fortitude in your endeavours. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.
To see images from the ceremony, click here
To read the Royal Commission's report click here
To read the Government's decisions on Auckland Governance click here