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Alternative to Privatisation and Authoritarianism

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors
For Immediate Release

23 June 2010

An Alternative to Privatisation and Authoritarianism

Six Auckland City Councillors have compiled and formally submitted their own alternative submission on Rodney Hide's Local Government Amendment Bill to that rammed through by the Citizens and Ratepayers Councillors who ensured that the Auckland City Council's submission gave official support to the Bill's provisions. The six City Vision, Labour and Independent Councillors unsuccessfully moved a raft of amendments to the draft Council submission at last week’s Finance and Strategy Committee which were voted down in a series of party-line divisions. This prompted them to write their alternative Auckland City Councillors' submission.

Councillor Northey said: "I find it appalling that both the Government's Local Government Amendment Bill and the Auckland City Council's supporting submission are proposing to gut the current requirements for public consultation on a great range of very significant issues. Public consultation often generates better solutions to thorny issues than Councillors and council staff alone can and it certainly makes it more likely there will be public buy-in for the final decisions. I am particularly concerned at cutting out consultation on whether a service is contracted out, on abandoning strategic assets, on cutting the level of Council services on council investments and on partnerships with the private sector. These are of vital public concern and the people's views must be sought and heard.”

Councillor Casey said: "I am outraged that my Citizens and Ratepayers Council colleagues and Mayor John Banks have supported a provision that allows water services and assets to be privatised for 35 years. Thirty five years of private ownership, private profit-taking and price gouging without public transparency or accountability is just 35 years too long."

Councillor Glenda Fryer said: "I am staggered that the Council had virtually nothing to say about Rodney Hide and the National Government's attempt to cut local government back to a very short list of defined core services, even when local residents and ratepayers want more holistic services to be continued. This proposal must be removed from the Bill. Otherwise all the good work Councils do for economic development and job creation, community development, public health, pensioner and other affordable housing, cultural facilities and events, and environmental and heritage protection, could come to a grinding halt."

ENDS

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