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

 

Gordon Campbell: The PM’s Hair-Pulling Power Trip

There have been striking differences between (a) the account of the waitress involved in the hair-pulling incidents, and (b) the account being given by Prime Minister John Key. The version by the waitress is available here and is recommended to anyone yet to read it. By her account, there were multiple instances of hair-pulling and these persisted and persisted long after she had made her annoyance clear to Key – who had also been advised by his wife, and by other café staff that the behavior was evidently not being welcomed. More>>

ALSO:

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: Is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli? Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915. More>>

MORE IN WEREWOLF:

ALSO:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news