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'Supercity' proposal a super bad idea - Greens

7 September 2006

'Supercity' proposal a super bad idea - Greens

A proposal from the newly formed 'OneAuckland Trust' to form a single city out of the seven Auckland councils and the Regional Council will leave the public even more powerless to effect change, the Green Party says.

Auckland-based Green MP Sue Bradford says the Party has a strong commitment to participatory democracy - that people should be able to maximise their participation in governance of their communities. Having one TLA for over a million people over seven existing council areas will reduce local control enormously.

"The power is very likely to end up with those who have the most money and authority; the chance for so called minority groups, low income people, tangata whenua, Pasifica and refugee and migrant peoples is likely to be much reduced in any 'supercity'.

"Local government can be more responsive to local needs and work in a more developmental way with people on issues if it's closer to people - the further away it is the less responsive it is.

"The push to get rid of the Auckland Regional Council is also one of the most dangerous parts of the proposal - at the moment the ARC plays a crucial, and balancing, role in providing RMA functions including essential planning on critical areas such as air, water, transport and urban limits.

"There are no guarantees at all that costs will be saved with a new unitary structure. The same functions for same vast area of land and people will still need to be carried out. A larger bureaucracy is not necessarily a cheaper one. In fact, probably the only costs saved will be in relation to elected councillors.

"To maximise democracy and peoples' say over what happens in all aspects of local life we need more localised governance, not less.

"The Green Party believes that everyone in Auckland should have a say on whether a 'supercity' model is adopted. It should not just be left to the Mayors, and the Labour and National parties.

"We would like to see a move to STV voting systems for local government and more resources and power given to community boards while retaining the seven current councils and the Auckland Regional Council.

"Bigger is not necessarily better - benefits of the new 'supercity' are more illusory than real - and will be outweighed by the loss of community identity, reduced access to democratic processes and accountability and increased alienation of ordinary people from their elected representatives," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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