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We still do democracy in Rodney!

We still do democracy in Rodney!

Rodney’s Mayor Penny Webster is calling on all MPs – no matter what their political affiliation – to back democracy and support the legislation her Council has drafted to exclude the Rodney district from the new Auckland “supercity”.

The legislation, in the form of a ‘local bill’, is to be introduced into House by one of the district’s local Members of Parliament.

(Rodney’s local MPs are Prime Minister John Key, Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith, Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett and Assistant Local Government Minister and Chair of the Auckland Governance Select Committee John Carter).

“Whichever MP introduces the bill is for them to decide, but we are happy for any of them to do it,” Mayor Webster adds. “I also call on other MPs such as The Leader of the Opposition Phil Goff, Green Co-leader Metiria Turei and Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesman Phil Twyford to back up their calls for more local democracy in Auckland and support this bill when it is introduced into Parliament.”

She says pressure for such a local bill originally came when the Rodney District Council received a request from the Northern Action Group (NAG) asking the council to promote local legislation to keep the Rodney’s Northern Ward out of the new Auckland Council. NAG’s proposal requested the Northern Ward to be merged with Kaipara District.

“While Council sympathised strongly with the NAG request, we were also keenly aware that right throughout Rodney – not just in the Northern Ward, but also in the Hibiscus Coast, Western and Central Wards – of strong opposition of our district’s inclusion in the supercity,” Mayor Webster adds.

She says this information came from a robust, independent survey carried out in Rodney by Colmar Brunton*. This survey involved over 1,200 randomly selected people who were asked whether they supported or opposed Rodney being part of the Supercity. Of these people, only 21% supported Rodney’s inclusion in the Auckland Supercity, while 52% opposed it, a ratio of over two to one. The remainder were either unsure or had no preference.

“This two to one opposition in Rodney is even stronger than the anti-supercity sentiment evident in the rest of Auckland, as revealed by today’s Herald Digi-Poll survey.”

Mayor Webster says because of such strong, local opposition to the supercity, as well as getting direct requests from other residents groups, the Council had to act.

“We still do democracy in Rodney and we have done so by proposing this bill to leave all of Rodney out of the new Auckland Council.”

The local bill will be available for inspection at all RDC libraries and council service centres from Tuesday 18 May until Tuesday 8 June. Once this period is over, the bill will be presented to the Clerk of the House and introduced to Parliament by the appropriate local MP.

It is conventional for local bills to go to at least to the first reading stage and then be referred on to a Select Committee.


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