John Key delegated Rodney Hide to create a SuperCity that would mean that Auckland spoke with one voice.
The process may not have been great, the details and lack of democracy over CCOs etc may need improving, but they succeeded in creating one Auckland that is articulating a clear message.
National’s problem is that they don’t like that message.
Auckland rejected “their mayor“, consigning John Banks to promoting reefer to the people of Epsom.
In came Len, with a different vision – for the world’s most liveable city.
That liveable city involves an efficient business sector, and growing the GDP of Auckland by 5% per year to ensure higher incomes. National should be behind that, right?
But no. To achieve that Len wants a more compact city, with good public transport to get people around. So that people don’t spend most of their productive time in cars on motorways. And so that we’re not consuming more and more productive farmland for houses and roads and amenities further and further away from people’s workplaces. It’s much better for business; much better for the environment; it keeps rates lower by not having to keep building more council amenities for far-flung communities; and it reduces everyone’s wasted travel time.
So far, so much Auckland’s decision, right? They’ve got their plan out to consult1 and work out the details / change them as the Auckland public see fit.
But no. It’s not just that Steven Joyce won’t bring Auckland’s share of transport taxes to the table to help pay for the Inner-City rail-loop Auckland desperately needs – despite rail being the platform Len was elected on. It now looks as though Polluting the Environment Minister Nick Smith – fresh from gutting the ETS, and pushing out water and air quality standards – looks set to overrule the council keeping its urban limits.
A separate urban technical advisory group appointed by Environment Minister Nick Smith says Auckland’s metropolitan urban limit has been too restrictive and recommends a “Government policy statement” for Auckland which the new Auckland Plan would have to comply with.
The government overruling councils and local democracy? Sound familiar?
I guess why listen to the will of the people, if it doesn’t suit your agenda…
1 Until Tuesday 25 October – to have your say, get your submissions in by then!
Although this post should be covered by the opinion section of electoral law and shouldn’t need authorisation, here’s mine anyway, just to be safe:
Authorised by Ben Clark, 54 Aramoana Ave, Devonport