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C&R's Supercity Plan an Attack on Democracy

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Thursday 17 April 2008

 

C&R's Supercity Plan an Attack on Democracy

City Vision-Labour councillors say the John Banks-led Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) Auckland City Council's submission to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance endorsed at tonight's Council meeting is an attack on democracy.

C&R Councillors Captured by Right Wing Business Interests

Councillor Cathy Casey says, "John Banks and C&R have completely bought into the rightwing business rhetoric that the Auckland region is dysfunctional and needs major restructuring to fix it.  This is complete rubbish and what concerns me is that there is no recognition of the needs and opinions of the people of Auckland in the C&R submission."

Lord Mayor Position Retained in all but Name

Although C&R has abandoned their earlier attempt to create a "Lord Mayor of Auckland" position, they have retained the position of a Mayor elected at large by the region of approximately 1.3 million people.

Councillor Glenda Fryer says, "This can only be a contest between powerful interests and men who are already 'famous' in another field or extremely wealthy individuals who can buy an election.  This cannot be seen as an equal opportunity election for aspiring leaders from Mangere, Avondale or Glenfield.  It is also a recipe for confusion and division between the Mayor and his councillors.  It is far fairer for elected members to choose a Mayor from among their number in the way the Auckland Regional Council does currently."

Hierarchy and elitism favoured over fair and equal representation

Councillor Richard Northey says, "C&R is proposing an elitist and hierarchal structure starting from the top with a regional Mayor elected at large.  Then there's a small, very like-minded 'executive committee' which is just a euphemism for an old-boys club.  There's the full council, its committees and then a huge drop down to the community board members.  The voice, views and needs of communities will face a huge struggle to be heard by the hierarchy.  Where's the local democracy?"

Local voice an after-thought with Community Boards given unclear roles

Councillor Graeme Easte says, "Community boards were added by C&R as an afterthought so the powers they are proposing to give to them are vague and it remains to be seen whether the boards will truly be local voices.  This C&R council recently gutted community board delegations which says to me is it unlikely they would support real powers at the lowest possible level.  The submission makes the boards smaller than currently which means they will be less responsive and less likely to be representative of their communities, which is of particular concern given the middle tier of the cities and districts is being abolished."

Councillor Leila Boyle says, "With the proposed abolition of the city and district councils, the boards must have a wider role and significantly increased delegations.  It is clearly a way to push power upwards away from the local communities of Auckland and is an ideological attack from C&R councillors who believe we have too many elected representatives in Auckland currently.  This is not the issue at stake here; we must make sure our communities have real local democracy and the ability to make their own decisions on the street, suburb and community they live in."

Auckland City Council's submission will now be forwarded to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.  City Vision-Labour councillors urge people to make individual submissions to the Royal Commission by 4pm on Tuesday 22 April.


ENDS

 

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