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Government Gets Its Way

Wednesday 17 September 2009 - For immediate release

Government Gets Its Way

The Grassroots Action Group (GAG) is disappointed that the Government has not listened to the people of Auckland's views and has pushed through Rodney Hide's version of the Super City Bill virtually unchanged.

Despite almost 24 hours of non-stop debating in Parliament the Super City Bill passed into law today, with all the amendments proposed by Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party defeated.

The only last minute concession made in the face of strong public opposition this week was to keep the whole of Rodney District within the Super City and not split it in half. Unfortunately for Franklin they remain split.

The passing of the bill virtually unchanged means that Rodney Hide's plan to concentrate all the power into the hands of a select few, most notably the Super Mayor, has succeeded.

National's claim to have listened to the people of Auckland is nothing but a lie. The 1000s of public submissions calling for Maori seats, for a fairer voting system, for real power at the grassroots level and to retain the structures that actually work for communities, have been ignored.

The only changes made to the bill were to ditch the idea of councillors being elected at large and to promise some - as yet unspecified - functions and powers to the local boards.

The reality is that all the decisions on funding and priorities for local communities will be made by 21 people, who will need to be extremely well funded even to consider campaigning for a seat at the table. With wards likely to serve 100,000 people each (twice that of an MP) the chance of communicating effectively with constituents is nil.

A Super City for the super rich. How super for the rest of us remains to be seen, but we will all be paying the super rates bills to fund the changes all too soon.

The next Bill to flesh out the details and transitions is due in October. GAG will be informing people of the issues and enabling them to have their say, although the record is not good for being listened to.


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