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Supercity turns out to be a corporate con

29 October 2009

Supercity turns out to be a corporate con

The Green Party has been briefed about proposals to restructure the Auckland Council along corporate lines, and place control of Auckland’s assets in the hands of eight companies, Green Party Local Government Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley said she was alarmed at the apparent direction of the plans.

“Under the proposals, the so-called super-Council would become a hollow shell,” Ms Kedgley said.

“All the decisions about key strategic issues, such as transport and water management, would be siphoned off into Council companies, and made behind closed doors by unelected and unaccountable directors.

“Councillors would have almost no influence or say over the key problems facing Auckland.

“The whole rationale for the super city was to have democratically elected Councillors who would be able to speak with one voice, and have the power to deal with key strategic issues like transport and water.

“Now we learn that this was a con. Instead of being able to speak with one voice, the Council would be fragmented into eight different corporate boards. And instead of having the power to deal with key strategic issues, Councillors would have almost no power to deal with the major issues facing Auckland,” Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said she had sat on a Council-owned company in Wellington for many years, and had seen first hand how little influence democratically-elected Councillors have over commercially run boards.

“The boards may report to the Council on a quarterly basis, but all the key decisions will be made by appointed directors on the board, not by the Council.

“Aucklanders should not be surprised at this turn of events, given the ACT party’s desire to corporatise and privatise as many Council services as possible and shrink local democracy.

“Rodney Hide appears to be succeeding in his ambition to gut democracy in Auckland. Let us hope other Councils will see the writing on the wall and avoid falling into the same trap,” Ms Kedgley said.

ENDS

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