Phil Goff has put out a press release calling for a referendum so that the people of Auckland can decide whether the Government’s Auckland supercity plan should go ahead.
Regardless of what you think of the supercity as a concept, the fact is a referendum is the only way to make the Government accountable to the people of Auckland. Key and Hide won’t want to lose a referendum, and that will provide a real incentive to make sure they listen to what people want rather than just forcing their own undemocratic vision on Aucklanders.
It’s also great to see Labour standing up for grassroots democracy for once. One of the downsides of Clark’s leadership was Labour developed a more centralised apporach, and with it a distrust of the grassroots. This could be a good sign for Goff’s developing leadership. A Labour party that’s not afraid of the people would be a welcome development.
Last night at Drinking Liberally Wellington, Sue Bradford was asked whether the Greens supported a referendum. She did not give a definitive answer but she did strongly denounce the way the Government is trying to force through its supercity plans without a mandate from the people. Hopefully the Greens will also get on board the referendum campaign.
The Maori Party has provided some real leadership against the undemocratic structure that National and ACT are trying to impose on Aucklanders but they, to my knowledge, have not called for a referendum so far. To do so would be a real test of their relationship with National but I think they will have the courage to stand up for what’s right.
There seems to be a good concensus developing among all groups (except the business elite and its newspaper) that the current supercity plan is undemocratic and the Government’s efforts to ram it through are also undemocratic.
There is a real chance, if we work together, that we can force the Government to allow Aucklanders to have their referendum. After all, it’s their city, not John Key and Rodney Hide’s.