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New plan for Auckland

8 September 2006 - No. 86

New plan for Auckland

National has approved a Members Bill to let Aucklanders decide whether the current local government structure is right for the city.

The bill has been placed in the ballot. It establishes a taskforce that would develop a plan to reform local government in greater Auckland. The proposal would be put to a referendum during the 2007 local authority elections.

There are clearly some challenging issues to consider:
• What is the future of the Auckland Regional Council in any restructuring?
• What will the boundaries be to the north and south of the region of any enlarged city or cities?
• What will the functions of the enlarged city or cities be?
• To what extent would it be appropriate for some functions to be assumed by infrastructure companies such as a vertically integrated infrastructure company in community ownership for water, wastewater and stormwater?
• If amalgamation occurs, should the former cities be reconstituted as community boards with altered powers?
• Is it appropriate that a ward system be established based on the existing central government electoral districts for councillor election?
Death by a 1,000 cuts
Death by a thousand cuts is a an exaggerated Western name for an actual form of mutilation used in China before the modern era

The condemned was stripped and bound to a pole. The torturer, wielding a knife, typically began by gouging out the eyes, rendering the victim incapable of seeing the remainder of the torture and, presumably, adding considerably to the psychological terror of the procedure. Successive cuts chopped off ears, nose, tongue, fingers, and toes before the coup de grace.

It is not an inappropriate phrase to describe the present machinations of the Labour Government as it seeks to justify what is clearly improper spending to win the 2005 election.

The public has said what it thinks of these events. The New Zealand Herald poll recorded that 81% of the electorate said “the Labour Party should pay back the money it used to produce the election material”. The Police have condemned the spending as criminal albeit that no decision was taken to prosecute the offenders.

But even worse. The respected columnist Chris Trotter has justified Labour’s actions. In a recent opinion piece he said
“I know I should be outraged but I’m not. The truth is I’m glad Labour exceeded its spending limit at the last general election. If it hadn’t, there is every chance New Zealand would now be experiencing civil strife on a scale not seen since the 1860s”.

“Social peace for a paltry half-million dollars? Strikes me as the most courageous and forgivable kind of corruption?
“The end justifies the means”, some might argue. Surely not.

Political Quote of the Week
“When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticise or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home.” - Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister


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