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

No Charges: Outcome
Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area.

Following a lengthy and complex investigation, charges are not being laid by Police at this time regarding 8 incidents involving 7 victims and 5 suspects. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news