Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Comment: David Thornton On Rodney Council

COMMENT from David Thornton

writer and commentator on local government affairs

David Thornton is a former member of the North Shore City Council and the Greater London Council

'Phone 09 443 5302 Fax 09 443 6771 email thornton@internet.co.nz


Monday, 10 April 2000

No Taxation without Representation

The appointment of a government commissioner to replace the elected Rodney District Council is a severe blow to local democracy.

One of the first acts of the commissioner will be the setting of local rates for the coming financial year, with no accountability to the local people who will be paying those rates. This is 'taxation without representation'. - the issue which precipitated the American Revolution and subsequent Independence.

The abolition of the democratic right of Rodney citizens to elect their own local government is to deprive them one of their most basic freedoms. And all because of claims that the Council was dysfunctional.

But isn't Parliament itself 'dysfunctional' from time to time? Especially since the introduction of MMP. How often do we see and hear examples of unruly behaviour in the House - and, during the last 'coalition', we heard of legislation being withdrawn or delayed because Parliament could not agree. And there is no big brother who can sack that lot - nor should there be.

We already have almost half of our Parliament made up of 'list' members who have no electorate mandate. Now we are to have a non-elected commissioner running a local government unit.

No matter how unruly Rodney Council had become that is insufficient justification for the suspension of a democratically elected institution.

The basic services to the community are still being provided. The rubbish is still being collected. Roads and footpaths are still being repaired. The sewerage is still being disposed of. Fresh water is still being supplied.

The citizens of Rodney would have survived through to the next election in 18 months - and then given their verdict through the ballot box.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Emission Statement: 'Consensus Reached' On Agriculture

Today the Government launched a consultation document, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand’s emissions.

Agricultural emissions make up nearly half of New Zealand’s total emissions profile and are the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On What’s Wrong With Wellington

For many Wellingtonians, it hasn’t been the normal hardships – the workings of central government and the lousy weather – that have recently pushed their tolerance into the red zone. It has been the inability of local government to maintain even the basics. More>>


$1m Compensation Paid: First Gun Ban Event In Christchurch

The Police Minister says the first ever firearms collection event in Christchurch over the weekend was a huge success. But Stuart Nash had concerns about whether the participation reflected the number of weapons in the region. More>>


The Kids: Youth Parliament 2019 Event Kicks Off

120 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members have gathered in Wellington to attend the two-day Youth Parliament event ... More>>

Friends Like These: Foreign Minister To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. today for talks with senior members of the US Administration, and to attend the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Aussie Banks’ Latest Fee Hike Excuse

When the Reserve Bank sought feedback on its plans to require the country’s major banks to raise their capital reserves then you might have expected the banks to whine and complain. And so they have. More>>


Sitting On Defence: Terms Of Reference For Defence Estate Review

“The 81,000 hectare Defence estate is at a crossroads; much of it is run down, and outdated,” says Ron Mark. “It needs to be improved in order to gain, train and retain our service people, now and into the future." More>>


Meng Foon: Retiring Gisborne Mayor To Be Race Relations Commissioner

Andrew Little: “He has an outstanding record as a relationship builder and walks comfortably in the pākehā world, the Māori world, the Chinese community and other communities making up New Zealand." More>>


NCEA: Students Granted Qualifications After Fees Scrapped

Almost 150,000 current and former students with unpaid NCEA fees have today been formally awarded their NCEA credits or qualifications. More>>




InfoPages News Channels