- Date published:
9:56 am, January 20th, 2010 - 9 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, community democracy, democracy under attack, democratic participation, local body elections, local government - Tags:
The people of Franklin and Papakura, who overwhelming oppose becoming part of the National/ACT government’s Supercity experiment, have been denied their request to keep their own councils. Instead, Papakura will be forced into the Supercity while Franklin will be carved up between the Supercity, Waikato Council, and Hauraki Council.
The people of Franklin and the rest of the councils that will soon be forced into the Supercity told the Royal Commission that they wanted better connections with local government. They wanted more localised, devolved government that they would have a personal connection with and would be responsive to their local communities.
They got the exact opposite.
The size of the Supercity wards is ludicrous. The Rodney Ward is 85 km North to South and 65 km wide. It incorporates three major towns and dozens of smaller ones. What kind of candidate could afford to campaign over such a vast area? Only a wealthy one who doesn’t have to work and has plenty of funding. And even they will concentrate on Helensville, Warkworth, and Wellsford – the rest of the ward will be ignored.
The Franklin Ward (what’s left of the current Franklin Council once National/ACT carves it up plus part of Papakura Council and most of Manukau) will be about 2500 square km in size, that’s bigger than most Parliamentary electorates. A crazy area for councillors to try to represent.
The upshot is going to be that the high-quality candidates go for the city wards which are at least of manageable proportions. Although there they will face the challenge of campaigning to and representing insanely large populations of 100,000 and more.
The people in the urban wards will have as little as half the voting power as voters in Rodney due to the complete balls up the Government has made of the boundaries and number of councillors per ward. Still, at least in an urban ward your councillors will live within an hour’s drive of your community.
The Key Government: delivering the worst of all possible solutions. Let’s hope the people of Auckland and the surrounding region remember who forced this on them when they come to vote in 2010, and in 2011.