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Democracy Begins at Home

Andrew Williams MP
Spokesperson for Local Government
10 March 2014

Democracy Begins at Home

It’s time for political leaders to listen to the people and desist from imposing their will to force through change, says New Zealand First spokesperson for Local Government Andrew Williams.

“Let the people of our regions and cities, like Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Wellington, decide through a referendum whether they want to be governed under a ‘super city’ model or not,” he says.

“Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude of the National Government over the past five years has been to impose its party beliefs and centrist doctrines on New Zealanders without question.

“Local body leaders must not follow this example, they must resist any temptation to push through change, against the will of the people.

“Strangely, Prime Minister John Key has suggested the outcome of a proposed referendum in Crimea, on whether it should remain in Ukraine or become part of Russia, is up to the people and should be binding.

“It’s an oddly hypocritical statement to make when Mr Key ignored the wishes of the majority of Aucklanders who opposed the forced amalgamation of the region.

“Another example in the pipeline is Napier. The wishes of the local community must not be ignored, they deserve better and must have a chance to cast a binding vote on an important and historic decision as to whether they become part of a greater Hawke’s Bay council.

“Having spoken to many people in the region it is clear that some find the idea of being absorbed into a bigger regional administration quite daunting and fear that their proud city will suffer. Others hold the view that big will be better.

“Voters can make up their own minds having digested the arguments and listened to the many and varied opinions.

“The best way forward, and so there is no blame game in the future, is to give residents an opportunity to tick the box of their choice, just as Mr Key would like to see happen in Crimea,” says Mr Williams.

ENDS

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