Another broken Supercity promise

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, August 28th, 2010 - 17 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack, supercity - Tags: ,

Back in March The Herald had some strong words to say about the ‘council-controlled organisations’ that will be running Auckland:

Editorial: Deny power to Super City’s faceless panels

From right to left, from John Banks and Michael Barnett to Len Brown and Mike Lee, Auckland’s local politicians have begun protesting at a distinctly undemocratic element in the constitution being written for the Super City.

Legislation setting up the new Auckland Council threatens to delegate most decisions to a number of ‘council-controlled organisations’ (CCOs), a piece of Orwellian newspeak if ever there was one. They will not be directly controlled by the council. They will be run by boards appointed by the council but short of dismissing them there will be little public representatives can do to have a say in decisions about Auckland’s roads and public transport, waterfront development and much else.

The way it is shaping up, the single mayor and council will be a puppet show, purely for democratic appearances, while the real decisions are made by people the public has not elected and will never see. It cannot stand.

Key’s government weakly promised “consultation” with the Mayors, but now even that weak promise has been broken. Bernard Orsman (who has been literally outstanding on Auckland issues) reports:

Ministers renege on vow to consult mayors on Super City boards

Government ministers Rodney Hide and Steven Joyce are in the gun for failing to consult Auckland mayors on unelected directors to run most of the Super City services.

Mr Hide, the Local Government Minister, promised to consult the mayors on the directors for seven council-controlled organisations (CCOs) before making recommendations to the Cabinet. Mr Joyce, the Transport Minister, promised much the same about appointments to the mega transport CCO.

Manukau Mayor and Super City mayoral contender Len Brown yesterday said the ministers’ promise had, so far, failed to materialise. “Appointment without consultation is unacceptable. The CCOs will manage over 70 per cent of the assets owned by Auckland ratepayers. “Aucklanders should have direct input into the composition of their boards. Given the failure to do so, no wonder people across the region are angry with the way the Super City has been set up,” Mr Brown said. It is understood that the Cabinet approved the directors of the seven CCOs this week and Mr Hide will announce them on Monday. …

Rack that up with the other notable broken Supercity promises, like supporting the Royal Commission and consulting the people of Auckland, listening to Maori on the issue of Auckland seats, and empowering local boards.

So will The Herald stand by its earlier thundering editorial? Will we see a strong campaign about the theft of local democracy in Auckland? Or will we see hell freeze over first?

17 comments on “Another broken Supercity promise”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    where’s the mention of the bit that said hide asked them in may? becaue len brown didn’t return anything, so was that calculated so that when the herald asked he knew he could be l(i)en through his teeth and a useless reporter wouldn’t put two and two together? or was he just to stupid to understand no one will come courting his opinion?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      You mean this bit:

      Manukau Mayor and Super City mayoral contender Len Brown yesterday said the ministers’ promise had, so far, failed to materialise.

      Seems fairly self-explanatory really – even a RWNJ should be able to understand it.

      • TightyRighty 1.1.1

        sorry draco, i forgot, everyone is just supposed to take the word of an elected representative. right?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Which one are you referring to? The known liar (Rodney) or Len Brown?

          See, I tend to go on past actions and Rodney has shown that he doesn’t do “consultation” (and tends to make free with other peoples money) while Len Brown has shown that he has ethical standards.

        • Vicky32

          And why not, hey?

    • lprent 1.2

      The devil is in the details. Was this something like the ‘consultation’ over national standards? Or mining? Or the super city itself? All of those were presented as this is what will happen and a sham ‘consultation’ was followed where everything was just ignored.

      To me a consultation over employment would involve seeing the cv’s of the candidates at the very least. Did that happen?

      • TightyRighty 1.2.1

        your not being asked though lprent? I know what you would consider excellent credentials, and most of them would not run a lemonade stand let alone a council organisation

        • Draco T Bastard

          And yet, as an Auklander, he should be asked. And so should I and every other Aucklander. It’s called democracy which has been unilaterally removed by NACT in both Auckland and Canterbury.

  2. ak 2

    Democracy under attack? attack? More like hung, drawn, quartered, ground into paste and flung into the public’s face. With a smile and a wave, natch.

    Along with the last shreds of media integrity. The loony hysteria and Helen/Lenin comparisons arose from the fact that the EFA threatened advertising revenues. This is merely an actual and blatant attack on our most basic right: oddspot material, don’t upset the funders.

    Once more with feeling: ignore the media. Learn from mining and the wreck of the Lissa Melee and go hard on the shoe-leather and Lynn’s keyboard. People always trump money in the end. Postal votes remember: simple door-knocking will pay big divvies, and a tory rout will set those grinny polls reeling.

  3. ZB 3

    Councils are about people’s needs, so gutting the ability of people to participate, consult and
    consent freely through a council will mean higher costs for private bureaucrats who guess
    what people want, what problems the solutions will entail, and whole waste of money
    that will only end in them send their fees into the ratepayers to pay.

    Its a damn shame that the right wing has no brain, or concern about costs, or even any
    reality checks on itself. Taxpayers will just start boycotting the rates if they lose any

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    More a stuff up than a conspiracy. Its only 5 weeks to the election and the CCO’s have no staff, no appointed board members and no offices. Also hear so many staff have left the existing councils that they won’t bother interviewing for staff. The conditions they are offering are inferior to the current jobs so I suspect the CCOs will struggle to get qualified staff. No wonder Doug McKay is pleading for patience.

  5. Why are you surprised that the Nasty Nats have been caught lying again. When did you think they would be honest with you and your assets?

    It’s all part of Nationals plan, to take over first Auckland then the rest of the country.

    John Key selected his favoured few when he gave tax cuts to coincide with Auckland city coming into force so when they float our assets into bonds his favoured few have the finance to create wealth for themselves from our assets.

    John Key and the nasty nats don’t care about the workers, they just expect those workers to care about them and make this the kind of place they want to live in.

    This is why it is never going to work. Tell me anywhere in world where the suppressed peoples have happily gone on to make their oppressors succeed.

    • Tigger 5.1

      Key is going to learn that no amount if smiling and waving will dissuade an angry mob…

  6. Armchair Critic 6

    I’m still too busy being pissed off that most of Auckland’s assets are being put into CCOs. Yeah, it’s another broken promise, but let’s just chuck it on the pile with all the others.
    Really, it’s like being upset when some thief steals your wallet and doesn’t consult you on which pub they will spend the proceeds at. The name of the pub doesn’t matter – they stole your fucking wallet!

    • Bill 6.1

      While I was reading stuff in connection to Jimmy Reid, I came across this series of four articlesthat would probably be well worth the read for those of you deeply concerned about the Auckland Super City.

      It seems many of the issues that will flow from democracy being further diminished…cronyism, patronage and straight up scams…have already unfolded in the four cities examined and I’m guessing the broad patterns and issues will prove to be operational blueprints in respect to what Auckland and Aucklanders…followed by Christchurch and elsewhere?… are about to experience.

      If that’s the case, then getting a heads-up on what certain proposals will mean in reality could be invaluable for activists concerned with the whole issue of local governance structure.

      • Armchair Critic 6.1.1

        I’ve worked with a number of TLA’s from the smaller ones (with around 10,000 residents) to the largest ones (mostly in Auckland) and I’ve observed that, in general:
        the larger the population served by the TLA, the less connected the residents are with their council, and
        the smaller the population served by the TLA, the more functional the staff at the TLA and the more responsive the TLA is to the wants and needs of the population.
        I acknowledge that I am generalising, and that there are a lot of subtleties that I have missed.
        However, amalgamating Auckland will only, IMO, create even more of a disconnect between Aucklanders and their council.
        Just like creating a long governance chain through the councillors, council staff, CCO boards, and CCO managers to the people who will actually provide services like water and roads will further disconnect Aucklanders from having a say about the assets they paid for.
        Back to my original comment, National and ACT have stolen democracy, and that’s something that I can’t put a value on. Unlike my wallet, which is current empty.

  7. Carol 7

    Also, there’s still some negotiations going on between the union and the ATA over anomalies in pay, job titles etc. I think there’s a few people happy they have been in the union over the last year, otherwise it would have been a scarier and more lonely experience. It’s the sort of work unions do that doesn’t really make headlines, and goes on below most people’s radar.

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