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RAM calls for an Auckland Parliament

RAM - Residents Action Movement
Media release 22 April 2008

RAM calls for an Auckland Parliament

On the last day of submissions to the Royal Commission on local governance, a de facto Auckland Parliament has been proposed by RAM - Residents Action Movement.

"Bringing all the region's elected mayors, councils and community board representatives together for all-in discussions twice a year could serve as an antidote to undue corporate influence over councils," said RAM chair Grant Morgan.

RAM's full submission appears below.

From: Grant Morgan
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 20:39:10 +1200
To: info@royalcommission.govt.nz
Subject: RAM's submission to Royal Commission on local governance in Greater Auckland

RAM's submission to Royal Commission
on local governance in Greater Auckland

by Grant Morgan

Chair of RAM - Residents Action Movement

RAM wishes to make a verbal submission to the Royal Commission that expands on this brief written one.

RAM is generally supportive of the submission to the Royal Commission made by Manukau City Council, with the proviso of this one major addition:

RAM proposes a twice-yearly General Assembly of all elected local government representatives in Greater Auckland.

Such a General Assembly, which included all mayors, councillors and community board members, would begin life as a whole-of-region discussion forum, probably over time evolving into a decision-making institution.

It could grow into something like an Auckland Parliament which could help to narrow the democratic deficit in Greater Auckland.

This democratic deficit has arisen because of the market-based power that corporate elites have over local governance in this region. This can be seen in the moves towards the commercialisation and contracting out of council services despite majority opposition.

Increasingly we are seeing councils coming under the sway of the corporate principle of "one dollar, one vote" rather than the democratic principle of "one person, one vote". So it's not surprising that only about one person in three now votes in council elections.

Until this democratic deficit is bridged, any type of political mechanism for local governance in Greater Auckland will suffer from a lack of popular legitimacy.

RAM believes that a General Assembly, evolving in the direction of an Auckland Parliament, is a practical proposal to enhance the role of all elected representatives and roll back the undue influence of unelected corporate elites.

We think our proposal could sit comfortably alongside the proposals made by Manukau City Council.

RAM will be happy to expand on these brief comments in our verbal submission.


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