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Endorsing Banks for super mayor a super blunder

8 June 2009

Endorsing Banks for ‘super mayor’ is a Key ‘super blunder’, says North Shore Mayor

John Key’s endorsement of John Banks as the “super mayor of Auckland” at a National Party conference at the weekend, and John Bank’s subsequent public acceptance of the endorsement, is an appalling display of ‘back-slapping’ and political cronyism that has further undermined the legitimacy and integrity of the government’s own select committee process, says North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams.

“Despite attempts by his spin doctors to now backtrack, the Prime Minister’s labelling of John Banks as the “super mayor” can be nothing other than an endorsement of his candidacy for the position, and a signal of National Party support for that candidacy. This has since been confirmed by John Banks himself on National Radio, accepting the endorsement and expressing gratitude for it,” said Mayor Williams.

“With the select committee process in full swing, you have to question the Prime Minister’s judgement, or at least his commitment to the select committee process. What are people all over greater Auckland going to be thinking when they are asked to make a submission to the committee, only to find out the Prime Minister has already decided who he and his party want as the new Mayor?”, said Mayor Williams.

“Predictably, the Prime Minister has attempted to backtrack after making this comment in an address to his National Party cohorts. This is becoming a familiar pattern of the Prime Minister’s, but it does nothing to assuage my declining faith in the select committee process when the government sends out so many mixed messages and conflicting assurances. It is pointing towards being a very contrived process when they have already made up their minds on who will be the super mayor. What else have they already decided behind closed doors at to how Auckland will be governed?”

“John Banks is clearly part of the inner cabal that Rodney Hide and John Key are working with to achieve their Auckland take-over, the biggest land and asset grab in New Zealand’s history. Their agenda has been in play since 2006 when John Key’s private members bill gave the first indication that the National Party was intent on foisting a super city structure on Auckland, and has gathered momentum in recent times, culminating with Rodney Hide’s ‘under the radar’ Cabinet paper which paves the way to privatisation and stifles public input into local government decision-making.”

“The other concerning aspect of the Prime Minister’s endorsement is that this appears to give the ‘green light’ to party political involvement in Auckland local government. The recent local body elections in the United Kingdom show quite clearly that party political involvement means that local issues and concerns get lost in the noise generated by national party politicking,” said Mayor Williams. ”This is a dangerous slippery slope for New Zealand if we are going to have central government politics taking a much bigger and active role in the governance of local councils. New Zealanders do not like this.”

ENDS

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