Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Peters: Local Democracy Coalition Political Panel

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
4 June 2014

Local Democracy Coalition Political Panel
Wednesday 4 June, 2.45pm
Tawa Room, Brentwood Hotel, 16 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie, Wellington

Put the ‘Local’ Back Into ‘Local Government’

For the next few minutes please consider the two words ‘local’ and ‘government’.

Taken separately, we all know what these words mean but together, as part of a political expression and put in the local government context, somehow a sense of meaning has been lost.

Why? Because local government has been disconnected through a combination of resentful antipathy and an agenda of aggrandisement.

Many New Zealanders will remember the borough councils, the county councils and the city councils that served local communities for many years.

That was a time when the local councils had some connection with their communities.

Councillors were usually mature individuals who had run local businesses or organisations and were altruistic about giving something back.

They were not in it for the money.

They were in touch with the people who did not hesitate to ring them – usually to complain!

Perhaps more importantly, because of their geographic proximity, local communities felt that they knew them.

Fast forward a few decades and numerous amalgamations and so called reforms and local government is now an industry that spews out forests of reports, analyses, plans and excuses.

The current obsession with amalgamation is causing even more disconnection.

The so called Super City of Auckland has become a state within a state and more dysfunctional than the clutter of local bodies that were forced into this shotgun wedding.

Remember there was no grassroots support for a Super City.

It was imposed on the people by the dysfunctional leader of a dysfunctional political party.

But as important, the Prime Minister had, prior to the legislation bringing the Super City into effect, already made public his support for the concept.

Of equal importance, the people who came to comprise the Super City were never asked.

They did not get a vote.

They had this system imposed on them from above.

It was the very antithesis of local government democracy.

If you recall, the proponents of the Auckland Super City promised that the amalgamation, even though it was to be imposed without a vote, would bring rates down.

There are hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders that fell for that puffery and are now paying increased rates and regretting their naiveté.

And every day now, they are being subjected to central government propaganda that says that the only reason we have a housing crisis in Auckland is becauselocal government is failing to provide the supply of housing to match the demand.

That is an egregious, self-serving, central government fiction.

It enables central government to keep increasing demand whilst blaming local government for failing to meet supply.

Here is the point. Local government must take the people with it.

Why? Because it is theirs! They paid for it and are still paying for it.

They have the right to decide and the thought of a group of people machinating behind closed doors the future democratic state of Wellington local bodies is abhorrent!

But this modern National Government has never shown much understanding, appreciation or respect for the conventions, practices and institutions that underpin our democracy.

Local government is a fundamental element of our democracy and needs to be recognised as such.

Take the residents of Upper Hutt – why should they be sucked into a Wellington Super City if they see no value in it?

Will they get the chance to be properly informed on all aspects to this?

Will they get to learn both sides of the debate?

Will they then get the chance to make an informed vote on this?

We do not witness a clamour for amalgamation among ordinary citizens and ratepayers of the greater Wellington area.

In reality, is amalgamation actually about fulfilling the dreams of certain ambitious politicians rather than meeting genuine needs of residents?

Because, for example, how many people in Lower Hutt are actually demanding a super city? Are there any?

And what about Wairarapa?

There is a natural boundary called the Rimutakas.

There is no close community of interest between Wairarapa and Wellington.

They’ve even got their own rugby team - and they want to keep it that way.

Perhaps there is a case for a greater Wairarapa Council – but that should be for the people of Wairarapa to decide.

This, after all is a freedom issue and the people should be free to choose.

The leaders of local government have a chance to show some leadership.

New Zealand First says it’s time to put the ‘local’ back into local government.

The attitude of ‘them and us’ has to change.

Keith Holyoake used to say when in doubt trust the people.

We urge you to ‘trust the people’.

And we urge you to accept their choice, whatever their choice may be.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

John Key Press Conference: Ashburton Shootings, Judith Collins Inquiry

Prime Minister John Key has delayed the release of Nationals’ fiscal policy in light of this morning’s shooting at a Work and Income office in Ashburton... Key also answered questions about Judith Collins, and confirmed that independent inquiry will be held with regard to allegations made against Collins. More>>

ALSO:

Internet MANA: Georgina Beyer Rocks The Waka

“There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority of MANA members and supporters around the country” states MANA Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Update: Inquiry Into Release Of NZSIS Information

The Inquiry would be conducted in private and individuals would appear before her separately over a period of more than a week. She does not intend to name those summoned to give evidence until her report is published. “I can confirm that all persons summoned will be required to appear under oath...” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On John Key’s ‘Blame It On Judith’ Strategy

Right now, Prime Minister John Key seems intent on limiting the scope of any inquiry into his government’s dealings with Cameron Slater. The declared aim is to make that inquiry solely about Judith Collins’ behavior with respect to the Serious Fraud Office. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Council Lawyers' Statement: Supreme Court Decision On Maori Water Rights

“…the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead… the Supreme Court has questioned whether the Crown owns the River at all.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Winston Peters' Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other's vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist... Few are questioning how Peters got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. More>>

ALSO:

More Immigration News: First People Trafficking Charges

The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)... The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. More>>

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news