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C&R Back Undemocratic Governance for Auckland

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Wednesday 27 January 2009

C&R Continue to Back Undemocratic Regional Governance for Auckland

At yesterday’s Auckland City Council Regional Governance Committee meeting, Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors continued their backing of the undemocratic Auckland governance reforms being pushed through by the National-ACT government.

Councillor Richard Northey said, “I am very disappointed and concerned that Deputy Mayor David Hay and his C&R colleagues are kowtowing to Local Government Minister Rodney Hide and the National-ACT Government in their decisions on the third Auckland Bill. I am particularly saddened that C&R have given up on fighting to maintain an Auckland transport system that is democratically accountable rather than one run by Rodney Hide road-loving cronies. C&R even rejected energy efficiency and minimising transport pollution as objectives for the new Auckland Transport agency.”

Councillor Leila Boyle said, “Unsurprisingly, C&R are supporting the Government’s move to increase Mayoral candidate spending limits. The Bill pushes the spending limit from the existing $70,000 to a ‘base’ level of $100,000 plus 50 cents for each elector which will result in a maximum expenditure limit of $575,000, based on an elector population of 950,000. I think this is an outrageous sum of money to spend on a mayoral campaign and would severely limit the field of individuals able to even consider running for Super-Mayor, so I proposed that we urge the government to instead allow 5 cents for each elector giving a limit of $147,500. This is far more democratic as it would mean that no one would be able to ‘buy’ an election but instead all candidates would have to galvanise volunteers to support their candidacy.”

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, “Many Aucklanders fear that Rodney Hide will stack the Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) with business people whose views are more akin to his political philosophy and who are unaccountable to the electors of Auckland. I believe that if the initial appointments to the CCO boards are made by the eight existing councils, electors would have more confidence in them. I am bitterly disappointed that C&R voted against a more democratic and accountable process for these very important inaugural selections to the CCO boards.”

Councillor Graeme Easte said, “I am alarmed at the continuing lack of clarity as to the roles and functions of local boards. It is crucial that we have good people on the local boards but who will commit to run for election if the role is so vague so there is no knowledge of what they will be doing and what they will be paid? We successfully argued that Council should advocate for the Remuneration Authority to make a decision on elected representative remuneration and support packages by 30 June 2010 so electors and candidates have certainty and faith in the process.”

Independent Hauraki Gulf Islands Councillor Denise Roche said, “Every time there is any kind of vote on Maori participation in council decision-making there is an immediate knee-jerk response from C&R councillors to ensure that Maori are kept in their place - which is well away from the top table. I’m horrified that C&R want the Auckland Council to decide which committees the proposed Maori statutory board members will sit on because if they have their way it’ll be very few. And they don't want those Maori board members to have a vote on any committee anyway. It smacks of tokenism of the highest order. It’s contemptible.”

ENDS

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