John Armstrong seems to be shaking off his Key honeymoon, and has written a detailed and interesting piece on Carter’s role chairing the select committee on Auckland:
The Labour Party is absolutely correct. With the connivance of Act, the National minority Government is riding roughshod over parliamentary convention by dictating that a junior minister with portfolio responsibilities for local government chair the special select committee dealing with one of the two Auckland Super City bills.
When National’s decision to rush the first enabling bill into law under urgency last week and without prior select committee consideration is also taken into account, the Government’s decision to place Associate Local Government Minister John Carter in charge of the select committee’s scrutiny of the second bill is a further disturbing development. Select committees are supposed to be creatures of Parliament, not toadies of the Executive.
…Carter’s ministerial responsibilities are directly relevant to his role as chairman and thus further stretch the boundaries in terms of precedent.
In its hurry, however, the Government is copping a public backlash. Its handling of the report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance has somehow managed to unite disparate groups who oppose the restructuring for different reasons, for example whether there should be a quota of Maori seats. National argues that sending the second bill to the special select committee provides ample opportunity for the public to have a say. In going down this track, however, the Government has displayed a large degree of political ineptness.
Putting Carter in the chair sends a pretty awful message to people or organisations making submissions opposing or questioning aspects of the Super City restructuring that they are wasting their time.
It has been clear for some time that the select committee process will be a charade – Hide has already indicated that opponents of the restructuring should “prepare to be disappointed”. It has also been clear for some time that National’s abuse of parliamentary procedure makes a “mockery of democracy”. How much longer can this be allowed to go on? National in their hubris seem to be quite blind to an obvious fact that Armstrong also points out, “Lose Auckland and you lose the next election”. And if you want to know what Aucklanders think, have a read of this scorching editorial: Supercity? No. It’s an ATROCITY.