In light of the resignation of Mayor Tenby Powell, Tauranga ratepayers deserve a snap election to democratically replace the rest of the Council, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “You have to give Tenby Powell credit for stepping aside, sacrificing a Mayoral salary and the perks of office so that his Council can move on from recent distractions.”
“However, Tauranga ratepayers will have legitimate concerns about an unelected Crown Manager stepping in with powers to override democratic decisions, especially as the Council sets rates for 2021. The suggestion of replacing the entire Council with commissioners is more alarming yet.”
“While it may be true that the Mayor’s colleagues share responsibility for Council dysfunction, there’s a tidier and more democratic solution than sending in commissioners. Every Councillor could announce their resignation, causing a snap election in which they and new candidates could stand, at the same time as a Mayoral by-election.”
“This would effectively be a recall election, taking the blame game out of the hands of Councillors and letting ratepayers decide who’s shown the maturity and competence required to run New Zealand fifth largest city.”
The Taxpayers’ Union recently released a briefing paper proposing petition-triggered recall elections as an embedded feature of local democracy.