In a letter to the Herald today, responding to Mike Lee’s op-ed of yesterday, Steven Joyce says:
“Contrary to what Mike Lee says, the Auckland Council will be able to appoint or dismiss any member of the Auckland Transport Board at any time.”
Problem is, Mike Lee didn’t actually say what Joyce says he did.
His precise words were:
“The Auckland Council will be unable to appoint (or dismiss) the Auckland Transport chair and deputy chair.“
That’s because according to the proposed Act the new Chair and Deputy are elected by and from among the appointed members of the board. But who gets to appoint the new board member who choose the chair and deputy in the first place? According to the Herald:
Local Government Minister and Act leader Rodney Hide and Transport Minister Steven Joyce will appoint the initial directors without input from Auckland’s elected leaders.
Who but Joyce and Hide: they appoint the first board who then choose the chair and deputy. In the real world that’s game over.They get to control billions.
Half the last word belongs to Fran O’Sullivan, also in today’s Herald, in an article entitled “Hide’s Super City Mess”.
It’s hard to fathom why John Key continues to allow the leader of a minority party to drive the biggest “corporate” merger in New Zealand’s history when he is making such a pig’s arse of it…
Hide should have ensured right from day on that the CCOs would indeed be set up in a fashion where they were clearly seen to be subject to control by the Auckland council. This was not a hard ask.
But she then goes on to say:
Key has clearly swung Transport Minister Steven Joyce into play to ensure that Hide operates in a more transparent fashion.
Joyce’s letter shows that’s not going to happen. Transparency’s not his thing, as The Hollow Men showed. Mike Lee is right; Joyce is playing with words.
So what’s Joyce trying to stop Mike Lee getting across:
If recent statements are anything to go by, it would apear that the Government has already made up its mind and that Joyce and Hide’s plan – including the unpopular Council controlled organisations, are to be imposed on Auckland, whether Auckland likes it or not.
It is this high-handed approach to due process and democracy, implicit in the Government’s plans for Auckland, that wide range of people are finding so offensive…
It would be a bitter irony if Auckland’s “Super City” turned out to be less democratic, more constrained and with significantly less powers than now exist in local governent in Auckland – and the rest of new Zealand.
If the Government carries on down its present path, it will sow cynicism and resentfulness in Auckland lasting for years. And the term “Auckland Super City” will taunt the Government until it leaves office.