Auckland reorganisation: Removal of Democracy bill
Hon Jim Anderton
Progressive Party leader
MP for Wigram
14 May 2009 Media release
Anderton brands Auckland reorganisation as the “Removal of Democracy” bill
The Local Government (Auckland Reorganisation) Bill should be renamed the Removal of Democracy Bill, said Progressive leader Jim Anderton in parliament today. He was speaking on the proposal to create an Auckland ‘super city’.
“The Local Government Act would have given Aucklanders a say in one of the most significant changes in local government in their region they will see in their lifetime, but they are not going to have a chance to have that say”, Jim Anderton said.
“In essence it is a great leap backwards to the days when 21 out of twenty two councillors lived east of Queen Street. It was the reason why a ward system had to be introduced so that all Aucklanders could actually be represented on their own Council. The conservative rightwingers have always resented that change and this proposal returns Auckland to the past they have always hankered after.
“In real life terms it means, for example, the end of free swimming pools for the kids of South Auckland and any other future say for most Aucklanders in the way they want their local communities to deliver for them. Does anyone believe that those pools will continue to be free under the government’s proposal? I can already hear the self appointed Mayor of the super city, John Banks, making speeches about why the ratepayers of Auckland City shouldn’t be subsidising the swimming pools of south Auckland”, Jim Anderton said.
“I support a strong regional government for Auckland. There used to be one – the Auckland Regional Authority (ARA) and I know about it because I was elected to it in 1977. We bought all the major regional parks and replaced the entire ancient bus fleet with new Mercedes Benz.
“In 1989, the Labour government replaced the ARA with the Auckland Regional Council (ARC). In 1992, the then National government wanted to sell the Ports of Auckland and the water services, so they diverted ownership of these and other profitable assets into the newly established Auckland Regional Services Trust (ARST) with the plan to sell. What a shambles that would have been if it had been allowed to happen. It took all of the strength of the political group I led at the time to put a stop to that. Auckland has reaped the benefit ever since,” Jim Anderton said.
“Now they’re having another go. This is a privatisers’ dream to sell the community assets of Auckland, and is entirely in line with Rodney Hide and the ACT party’s ideologies. Does anyone believe that this is in the best interests of Aucklanders?
“You can understand in those circumstances why the National ACT government doesn’t want people to have a say as to whether or not they want this outrageous piece of community destruction to go ahead”, Jim Anderton said in the House today.