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Super city corporatisation a shocker

29 October 2009
Media release
Super city corporatisation a shocker


The proposed structure of the new Auckland council will corporatise the city and is a betrayal of Auckland's democracy, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford.

Labour has been leaked the details of the new structure which reveal the Auckland Transition Agency is planning to place control of Auckland’s assets in the hands of up to eight commercially run organisations.

"This Government is planning to run our country's biggest city like a company. But Auckland is not a private firm. It is a collection of communities. There won't be anything left for the super mayor and councillors to do but turn up and eat their lunch," Phil Twyford says.

"Everything will be in the hands of CEOs and boards. The mayor and councillors will be left like beached whales. If the Government gets away with this con job, it will amount to a complete betrayal of Aucklanders who will lose democratic control of the city and its $28 billion in assets."

Phil Twyford said he had been told by a highly placed source in the transition agency that almost all the functions of local government would be administered by council-controlled-organisations which are commercially run companies similar to the Government's state-owned enterprises, with their own CEO and board.

"People only need to look at what happened with power prices to know that this model can leave elected politicians powerless to intervene.

“Council-controlled-organisations are to be established for water, transport, community services (including libraries and community houses), land development, the waterfront, and economic development. Each of them will report to a council-owned holding company.

"If the trains aren't running on time, or the footpaths aren’t being maintained, the mayor will have to talk to the CEO of the holding company who will have to talk to the CEO of the council-controlled-organisation. who will have to talk to the contractor who is delivering the service."

"This is corporatisation gone mad. There will be nothing for the elected politicians to do. I don’t know why people would bother standing for office under this model. It will be impossible to hold the politicians accountable because they won't have the power to deliver.

Phil Twyford said a rump CEO of the Auckand Council would be left to administer corporate functions like information technology, human resources and finance, and public relations.

"Labour has said all along that Aucklanders feared the Government's super city project was designed to corporatise our democracy and privatise our assets. This mad proposal, alongside Rodney Hide's intention to open the door to privatisation of water infrastructure, shows how right we were."

ENDS

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