On Monday this week the front page of the Auckland Herald’s print edition announced that the paper was going to run a campaign to fight what it called “the lockout of democracy” in the Super City.
There was nothing on the Herald website all week, which seems odd if it was a real campaign.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, there were a few articles under a banner heading on Page 2. On Wednesday and Thursday, Rodney Hide and Steven Joyce had weighed in on the op-ed page, with Joyce again active on the news pages on Thursday.
Today we have an editorial, which starts:
Throughout the week, a Herald series entitled “Super City – the public lockout” has focused on the seven council controlled organisations proposed for the Auckland region. The starting point was a belief that these represented a fundamental shift in the proposed democratic constitution of the Super City.
Seeking to refute that view and allay widespread concerns have been the Local Government Minister, Rodney Hide, and the Transport Minister, Steven Joyce. Their response was unconvincing.
…the Government has hinted at minor changes to make the CCOs more accountable to the council and ratepayers. But there has been no sign that it might, say, shelve the transport CCO or limit the waterfront agency to development issues. It seems resolved to impose this model on Auckland.Better sense must prevail. If not, Aucklanders will, indeed, feel locked out of the major decisions on their city’s future. It is hard to think of the Super City starting life under a more serious handicap.
That sounds like a whimp out.
Come on Herald – where are the on-line polls, the website and Facebook sites, the endless stories from different journos about the views of Aucklanders and the problems that are likely to surface with what you have rightly called a “democracy lockout?”
We know you can do it; you certainly did with it your campaign against the Electoral Finance Bill.
The right to have a democratic say is priceless and fragile – remember Abe Lincoln’s concluding prayer at Gettysburg that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth”.
It will perish in Auckland – and it was your call. Time to pick it up.