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Gordon Campbell: Central vs Local Government

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, October 21st, 2010 - 12 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government, national - Tags: ,

Most of the text of an excellent piece by Gordon Campbell on central government’s reaction to the local government elections. — r0b

Central vs Local Government

The Key government now seems to feel it has a vested interest in the failure of both Len Brown in Auckland, and Celia Wade-Brown in Wellington. The battle lines over central government funding of the CBD rail loop in Auckland are already being drawn up. Key starting his press conference last Monday for instance, with a list of how much his government was already spending on roads and rail in Auckland, In his view, Aucklanders would need to temper their expectations of how much more central government would provide. How different the tone would have been if John Banks had triumphed. No effort would have been spared to ensure his success.

In Parliament this week, Transport Minister Stephen Joyce kept up with the same Scrooge-like responses when questioned by Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman about central government funding for the CBD Loop.

Plainly, the aim is to take the lustre of Brown’s election by starving his council of funds – thereby throwing the costs of the CBD Loop and other Auckland urban transport needs directly onto ratepayers. So much for all the rhetoric about Supercity Auckland. Clearly, if it can’t have its minions running the show, central government won’t be funding it. No matter that this recent report into the upcoming oil shocks makes a sensible case for less investment in roading, and for more investment in public transport.
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/ParlSupport/ResearchPapers/4/6/a/00PLEco10041-The-next-oil-shock.htm
All of which applies to Wellington as well, and totally validates Celia Wade-Brown’s programme for light rail, walking and cycling. Again, Joyce is not likely to stump up funds for her, either. For the foreseeable, central government is now on a mission to frustrate and overturn the public will, as it applies to local government.

The other fascinating aspect of the local government results has been that voters have finally buried the 1980s model of political leadership. All around the country, voters rejected the combo of alpha male leadership, highly centralised decision making, council amalgamation and the corporatisation of public services. The Supercity model was judged, and found to be unsafe for export. …

For the next few months, the nation’s bellwether politician will be Len Brown. That’s why central government has such a keen interest in ensuring that he fails, and that the Supercity mayoralty becomes a poisoned chalice…

Gordon Campbell

12 comments on “Gordon Campbell: Central vs Local Government ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Key and English are making the mistake of disrespecting the firm democratic voice of Aucklanders. Voters in Auckland have voted for Len Brown’s public transport policy by a significant margin. The ‘electorate’ has given Len Brown a powerful mandate. Now, by being deliberately obstructive, Key and English play a dangerous game with Auckland voters. Brown must stay strong on the platform he was elected on, and his supporters must continue to pressure him to do the right things. Winning is only the start, for supporters of the Left must keep pushing and pushing.

    Hundreds of millions were made available to restructure the Super Shitty – now is the time for National to follow through on its promises and bring about the dreams of a true Super City to fruition without further corner cutting and partisanship.

  2. Carol 2

    It’s interesting that Brown won in a lot of areas seen as traditionally right wing.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10681965

    Residents of Otara, Papatoetoe, Mangere and Manurewa voted by eight to one in favour of Mr Brown and accounted for more than 70 per cent of the Manukau Mayor’s 65,945 winning margin over Mr Banks.

    The gulf between the left and right-wing candidates was most noticeable in Otara, where Mr Banks received only 348 votes to Mr Brown’s 8128.

    As well as trouncing Mr Banks in South Auckland, Mr Brown beat him in his home patch of Auckland City by about 500 votes, the figures show, and won the vote in Waitakere, Franklin and Papakura.

    Mr Banks won in North Shore and Rodney, two National Party strongholds.

  3. Crashcart 3

    So what you are saying is that these peoples made election promises that they weren’t sure they could back up and now that they won’t be able to it is someone elses fault?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Nope, we’re saying that the present government is actively preventing those policies from being implemented. Auckland doesn’t need more roads as we have too many as is. What we need is rail.

  4. Bill 4

    “All around the country, voters rejected (…), highly centralised decision making…”

    Whether voters rejected centralised decision making is beside the point. And worse, if Len Brown pays attention to any such sentiment, then any ‘left’ agenda in Auckland is doomed.

    If Brown enters into ‘good faith’ consultation with business and other facets of the ‘right’ because centralised decision making has been rejected, then the ‘right’ will use that dialogue to bleed dry and drag down any ‘left’ initiative that comes to the table and will monkey wrench any positive social focus of the council until they regain the reigns of power.

    If Brown instead stands up , says that this is what voters voted for and rolls out policy that flows from an unashamedly ‘left’ agenda without seeking ‘approval’ from facets of the ‘right’ or trying to include them, then things could be okay.

    As a proponent of decentralisation, the only option that would approach any measure of democracy would be if there was genuine consultation was with community. But I can’t see how that can be done in the short term as there are precious few community groups that are anything other than collections of well meaning, essentially self appointed representatives from a fairly narrow or specific background or demographic.

    So maybe that should be a part of Brown’s agenda? To encourage the formation and development of genuine and increasingly empowered community voices for in the future.

  5. JonL 5

    Len Brown, like any other elected official, needs to stand firm against all the pressure that will come to bear and stick to his platform. All to often, those elected on platforms contrary to big business and government agendas, cave in and start to give concession after concession, so weakening both their own standing and that of the people who elected them!

  6. Irascible 6

    Brown can trump Key if his PR machine gets in early and declares “Yes. This scheme is valuable for the community BUT Key & Dipton have, with Hide, blocked it in favour of the Lobby group for filling the roads with heavy trucks…etc” Hammer the point in all speeches, on all platforms and joined in the chorus by Labour & the Greens the message will get through.
    Key & Dipton will spin by blaming the Labour Government, the international recession, the loss of the Hobbit… and be buried by an avalanche of truth… “NACT does not want the Brown-City Vision Supercity to succeed…”

  7. Irascible 7

    Brown can trump Key if his PR machine gets in early and declares \”Yes. This scheme is valuable for the community BUT Key & Dipton have, with Hide, blocked it in favour of the Lobby group for filling the roads with heavy trucks…etc\” Hammer the point in all speeches, on all platforms and joined in the chorus by Labour & the Greens the message will get through.
    Key & Dipton will spin by blaming the Labour Government, the international recession, the loss of the Hobbit… and be buried by an avalanche of truth… \”NACT does not want the Brown-City Vision Supercity to succeed…\”

  8. bbfloyd 8

    yet another golden opportunity to stick it to stanley keys travelling medicine show… this would make a great election issue next year… or whenever stan loses his bottle and calls an election.

  9. Zaphod Beeblebrox 9

    The more Key has a go at Brown- the higher the South and West Auckland turnout next election is going to be- beautiul really.

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