Auckland is being stolen from the people who live there. Bernard Orsman, writing at The Herald, seems to have had enough. He’s come out swinging. On January 22nd:
Local democracy lost in transition, critics warn
Concern is growing over what critics see as erosion of local democracy nine months before the start of the Auckland Super City. Concerns are also being raised about the business units in charge of areas such as transport and water, which will be run by unelected directors.
“Where is the world ‘local’ in the new form of local government for the region?” Maungakiekie community board chairman Bridget Graham asked in an opinion piece in the Herald. “There is no indication that any notice has been taken of what people really want.” …
Auckland Regional councillor Dr Joel Cayford said the loss of public control to the transport business unit would extend down to the location of bus shelters, parking restrictions and the choice of street trees. “These decisions will all be under the control of a relatively unaccountable entity,” he said.
And again just yesterday:
Democracy in peril, say city’s critics
Auckland is beginning to resemble a turkey that has just received an invitation to Christmas dinner, says a community spokesman who had high hopes for the Super City. “We all know the starring role that a turkey plays at Christmas – decapitated, plucked, gutted, stuffed, stitched up, roasted and carved up. And when the diners have eaten their fill, all you have left is a dead carcass.”
Panmure Community Action Group spokesman Keith Sharp made the comments before an Auckland governance select committee hearing submissions on the Government’s third and final piece of Super City legislation. … “I do not trust the process that is going on now. I’m beginning to fear it,” he said.
The lawyer for the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, Douglas Allan, summed up a common theme at yesterday’s hearings by saying the third bill “creates a corporate city, rather than a democratic city”. “The bill has far too much decision-making into the corporate, rather than the democratic, end of the spectrum.” …
Political activist Lisa Prager told MPs that their job was to represent Aucklanders, “not take us over with a fiefdom that will fail in the next four or five years”. “Your dreams of a Super City are so unpopular, undemocratic and unacceptable to the majority.”
No wonder that “residents of northern Rodney are planning a last-ditch attempt to escape the clutches of the Auckland Super City”. No wonder that Franklin and Papakura wanted out. No wonder that the strain is beginning to show on the Nats in select committee. Time is running out for you Aucklanders. If you want to keep control of your city, the time to act is now…