National Radio’s Nine-to-Noon was sold the line successfully, as they had Rodney followed by John Banks (whose publicity team of Bill Ralston & Janet Wilson are successfully getting him everywhere – which just seems to lower his poll ratings…) declaring it was all better now.
There are improvements in the 3rd SuperCity Bill, but there is still a lot wrong. Aucklanders will still have more representation at a national level than at local level; being governed by a corporate style board of 20, rather than allowing true local debate. Out of the calls to the Royal Commission to increase local control, we will be left with a handful in charge at Council and local board level.
We still have CCOs imposed by government. Sure 6 out of 7 CCOs the Council can dissolve at some future point; but the biggest, Transport, is still enshrined in law by parliament. How is that letting Aucklanders have a say in the running of their city? They are having 75-90% of their city’s functions put into corporations beyond the control of their votes, but with full access to their pockets. The directors and their remits are all imposed by NAct. How is this improving local democracy? And what sort of directors will they appoint? If the CEO is anything to go by we’ll have more people with no experience of public service, but very large pay-packets; although hopefully they will at least have made more of a contribution to society than selling alcopops to teenage girls.
And the vast majority of submitters that wanted more powers for local boards have largely been ignored. All they get is a blurb suggesting the Council might like to do so, and leaving it up to the Transition Authority to set precedent. Hopefully they do set a good precedent, under pressure from the public, but we’ll have to wait and see. By not legislating powers to the local boards, what NAct have set up is a turf control fight; as the Council and local boards argue over jurisdiction. Getting rid of these fights between fiefdoms was a large part of what this reorganisation was meant to achieve. Instead we can expect bun-fights for some time as the boundaries are pushed. If we get Len Brown and a Council that believes in local democracy it might not be so bad, but the system set up will ensure it occurs.
Rodney still has no idea how much this SuperShitty is going to cost. The cost of the transition? No idea. Running costs compared to the old councils? No idea. But if you’re flying in corporate execs on $742,500, and your lowering the costs of all sorts of permits, leaving the public to give subsidies to developers, I can only see one way the rates bills are going to be headed. Up.