In 1999, Napier and Hastings had a referendum over whether their councils should merge. They voted against it. In 2005, there was a referendum on Banks Peninsula and Christchurch City merging. The people voted for it. The Royal Commission report says that the normal process for council mergers set by the Local Government Act (schedule 3) “requires a poll of electors which, by simple majority, determines whether or not the proposal will proceed.” That’s a good, democratic system.
So when will Aucklanders get their say on whether they support Key and Hide’s supercity plan?
We won’t get it if the Government has its way.
Instead, National and Act are going to pass legislation to stomp on Aucklanders’ right to their referendum. Their ‘Auckland Bill’ bypasses the whole Local Government Act. It will just dissolve the existing councils and create a new system. Technically no merger, no legal need to ask the people for their consent, no democracy.
The Government says that’s OK. Aucklanders got to make submissions to the Royal Commission and will get to submit to the select committee they say. Even though only 3,500 submissions were made the Royal Commission and most people didn’t know it existed. Even though Key and Hide tore up the Royal Commission’s report and made up a totally new supercity without asking anyone. Even though in other cities there’s consultations and submissions before the plan is finalised, then the people get to have a referendum on the final plan.
Aucklanders should get a referendum just like any other city would get.
Hell, councils have referenda on whether to put fluoride in the water. How can we not have a referendum on creating a supercity? How dare the Government trample over our right to decide?
It would be simple for the Government to write the referendum into the legislation. There is no reason not to do it. If they won’t it’s because they don’t give a damn about democracy.
It’s not Key’s city. It’s not Hide’s city.
It’s all Aucklanders’ city. All Aucklanders should get to decide.
There must be a referendum.
– The Standard team