The attack on democratic local government is taking shape in the public domain.
1. Hide was not made the Minister of Local Govt for nothing. Radical changes are planned and National chose an ACT Party frontman to deflect public reaction. The Bill about to be introduced, and likely passed, to ‘cap rates at the rate of inflation’ will cripple councils ability to fund essential new projects and is clear evidence of the agenda.
2. The opportunity created with another round of amalgamation to create ‘super-cities’ whose governance is accessible only by those with wealthy backers. Already we have an established history of these right wing councils looking to sell assets such as airports whenever they can.
3. The technical advisory committee to the govt on RMA streamlining has come up with the ‘surprising’ suggestion to axe Regional Councils. Imagine my shock, again the Nat cabinet is using other entities to ‘Hide’ it’s real agenda. Most Regional Councils manage important public functions and are fat targets for selling off major parks, water and transport assets worth many tens of billions of dollars. In general these will be handed over into Council Controlled Organisations (CCO’s) that neatly packages them into saleable entities.
4. A lobby group calling itself ‘Water New Zealand’ is promoting water metering. Metering is a nonsense. The cost of water supply is 90% fixed overheads, reducing demand does little to reduce the total costs, therefore in the long run the price/unit has to go up in response. The sole purpose of metering is to use public funds to ready the asset for sale. (Potential private owners don’t want to have to spend a lot of money installing meters.)
‘No Asset Sales in our First Term’…. because it will take National about that long to get them ready and neuter the opposition.