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Local board members for Howick and Franklin met recently to explore ways the two areas could work together. Community leaders from across Auckland are uniting to find ways to work together.Franklin Local Board chair Andy Baker says Auckland’s 21 boards have more in common than they do differences.“We are the southernmost board, but we’ve met with Rodney in the north because we share urban and rural concerns. We’ve met with Papakura around working on several issues, and we’ve done the same with Waikato District Council.”He says boards will achieve more in a combined approach that gives them a stronger voice.Howick chair Adele White endorsed that view when the boards met recently.“We deal with parochialism in our own areas, but 10 years as a super-city has shown us it doesn’t always deliver. We are going to achieve more by working together.“Urban Howick might seem different from Franklin, but we both deal with growth, more people and higher demand for services, and now we do it when there is less money than ever.”Two of Howick’s newest members, Bo Burns and Bruce Kendall, said coming to grips with their roles was challenging because of the sheer size of the council, but their elections had put them in contact with good people.“Howick people probably aren’t different to Franklin’s. They want to see things done,” Kendall says. “Working together as a combined force can only be a good thing.”Board members agreed issues like protecting the environment, better transport links, more facilities and opportunities for residents arose in all areas.“Common issues need common solutions,” Franklin deputy Angela Fulljames says. “We are all working towards the same goal, better communities.”Board members discussed the possibility of asking for inclusion in the Hauraki Gulf Forum, and Howick urged Franklin to support advocacy around its proposed aquatic centre, planned for Ormiston.“Our boards have vast Hauraki Gulf shoreline, yet we aren’t on the forum,” Baker says.Howick’s bid for a pool has been through several stages, with debate now centred on whether a 25 or 50-metre pool should be built.Deputy chair John Spiller says it’s challenging given budget constraints, but it’s also a matter of getting it right first time. “Your support would be valuable because it would become a project advocated not only by us, but by our neighbours.”Baker says Aucklanders expect things to happen. “When you can’t take a bus from Beachlands to Howick that’s not your or our problem, it’s one for residents, and we should be working together to solve it.”The legislation that saw Auckland Council established says boards should collaborate when the interests of their communities are better served by doing so.