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