Press statement from Phil Twyford on the powers of the local boards in the Auckland SuperShitty.
Local Boards will choose the colour of the carpet, says Labour
The Government has failed again to deliver on its promise to empower local boards in the Auckland super city, says Labour’s Spokesperson on Auckland Issues, Phil Twyford.
The Government’s Auckland Transition Agency today released a discussion paper on the powers of the boards and briefed a public hearing of the select committee considering the third super city bill.
Twyford said the proposals were a huge let down for Aucklanders. Since the middle of last year the Government has been promising to fully empower local boards, but it is clear that is not going to happen.
The Government is turning Auckland democracy upside down. Local boards elected by local citizens won’t be able to pass by-laws. And yet, the new transport and water corporate structures whose initial directors are appointed by Rodney Hide will be able to make by-laws.
Under law already passed, boards will not have any regulatory powers at all, not even the power to regulate dogs, brothels, and liquor licensing that Rodney Hide promised in April last year.
The boards will have only the power to talk among themselves, and beg the Super Council to do something.
They will be able only to “propose” local by-laws to the super council, and “give input” to regional by-laws and plans. They won’t be able to hire staff, own property or have any legal status.
They won’t be able to move a bus stop or paint a yellow line on the side of the road. These things and the great majority of the Auckland Council’s operations will be handled by powerful corporate entities that operate completely independently of local boards.
What is left: libraries, local parks and facilities? The Government has made it clear that libraries and facilities will be run on a regional basis, but local boards can have input into things like design and fit out. In other words they get to choose the carpet. This is an insult to Aucklanders.
“The Government says local boards will have the power to shift park furniture around, and allocate the graffiti budget. This is the new face of local democracy.”
Twyford said hundreds of submitters to the select committee had called on the Government to legislate regional powers for the super council and local powers for the local boards but this is not going to happen.
If local boards are not empowered, the super city project will fail and there will inevitably be further rounds of reform to clean up the mess, said Twyford.