Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


PM should sort Hide out over super city mess

13 December 2009
Media Statement

PM should sort Hide out over super city mess

The outcome of changes foisted on Auckland by the National-led Government is a mess and the process by which they were arrived at is unacceptable and undemocratic, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

Mr Goff said Aucklanders had no confidence in Local Government Minister Rodney Hide's handling of the super city reorganisation and John Key should step up and accept responsibility for sorting out the mess.

“The process has been wrong, with Aucklanders denied a real say in determining the outcome for the reorganisation of the city. Plans for privatisation and the removal of safeguards which would allow Auckland residents powers to stop it are unacceptable to most Aucklanders. And the structures for voting for the new council and boards are fundamentally undemocratic.

Mr Goff said the draft ward boundaries proposed by the Local Government Commission for the election of councillors were unfair and undemocratic, with some wards heavily under-populated and others over-populated.

"Why is the vote of someone who lives in South Auckland worth only three-quarters of a vote in rural Rodney? Why is the vote of a Westie worth only three-quarters of a vote in Hibiscus Coast?

"This is a con job on Aucklanders. It ignores the fundamental principle of one person one vote and equality before the law.

“The ward boundaries are a gerrymander designed to hand the new council to National's Citizens and Ratepayers’ mates. The votes of Rodney, Franklin, East Coast Bays-Hibiscus Coast and Howick-Pakuranga-Botany are worth considerably more than the average. Waitakere, Whau (Avondale-New Lynn), Maungawhau-Hauraki Gulf, and Orakei-Maungakiekie are all over populated, meaning their votes count for less.

"The other big question mark hanging over the super city is the power of local boards. All year Aucklanders have been telling the Government that the boards must have real power if the super city is to keep the local in local government.

"The Government promised its third super city bill, due to get its first reading this week in Parliament, would clarify the powers of local boards but the bill leaves us none the wiser,” Mr Goff says.

"Without real powers the boards risk being toothless talkshops, and all power in our country's biggest city will be concentrated in an unrepresentative 20-member council. This is completely unacceptable.

Labour's Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford said there was widespread dismay about the ward boundaries; communities fearing loss of representation and powerless local boards; iwi were threatening to boycott the statutory board for Maori; and Franklin, Papakura and northern Rodney were trying to secede even before the super city had got started.

The Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill will get its first reading in Parliament this week. Mr Twyford said Labour had serious concerns about the bill, including:

• The absence of any clarity on the power of local boards
• Excessive campaign spending limits that would favour rich candidates or those backed by business
• Too much Council activity wrapped up in stand-alone commercial entities without democratic accountability
• The toothless statutory board for Maori
• Removal of the anti-privatisation protection for the Ports of Auckland.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Erebus Memorial In Parnell

Social media can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together in a common cause. It can also be a seedbed and spreader of mis-information on a community-wide scale. To which category do the protests against the siting of an Erebus memorial (to the 257 New Zealanders who died in that tragedy) in a secluded corner of a Parnell park happen to belong? IMO, it is clearly the latter, and the reasons for thinking so are explained below... More>>


National: Proposed Hate Speech Laws A Step Too Far

Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “The reforms are supposedly including protections to every ... More>>


Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>


Norman Gemmell: New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles

Norman Gemmell , Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Economists like to talk about “optimal policy instruments” — essentially, policies that achieve their objectives more effectively or efficiently than the alternatives, and ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>




InfoPages News Channels