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Third Bill confirms Government super city hash job

Phil Twyford
Auckland Issues spokesperson

15 December 2009 Media Statement
Third Bill confirms Government super city hash job


The Government's third super city Bill confirms just what a hash the Government has made of the reorganisation of Auckland’s local governance, says Labour's Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford.

The Bill will be debated in Parliament today and Labour is repeating its call for Prime Minister John Key to step up and sort out the mess before it is too late.

“The legislation leaves Aucklanders in the dark over the powers of local boards, despite Local Government Minister Rodney Hide’s earlier promise that it would spell out the boards’ powers in detail,” Phil Tywford says.

“Aucklanders want to know local boards will have real powers, not just be toothless talkshops. But Mr Hide has completely sidestepped the issue, instead allowing the new super council to decide what powers get delegated to the boards – which could end up being very few.

“This is particularly concerning given the Government decision to restrict the number of councillors to 20 for a population of over 1.4 million people. If the boards don’t have real powers, Aucklanders will have extremely limited representation - and access to it.

“Restricting the number of councillors has also had severe anti-democratic effects on the Local Government Commission’s determination of ward boundaries, which are a gerrymander. The result means one vote in South Auckland is worth only three quarters of a vote in Rodney and the vote of a Westie is worth only three quarters of a vote in Hibiscus Coast.

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“And proper Maori representation in the form of Maori seats has been shunned in favour of a much less effective statutory board,” Phil Twyford says.

“In light of all this, the Government’s claim to be enhancing the effectiveness of citizens’ participation in Auckland democracy is laughable. Precisely the opposite is happening, which is why Labour will be voting against the Bill.

“Other Labour concerns with the Bill are that it: removes provisions protecting the Ports of Auckland from being privatised, introduces excessive campaign spending limits favouring wealthy candidates or those backed by business and that it wraps up too much council activity in stand-alone commercial entities without democratic accountability.”


ENDS

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