When is the required referendum?

Written By: - Date published: 3:21 pm, April 20th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

democracy-under-attack1
I agree with the title of the Herald’s editoral today: “Let citizens have say on Super City“. Unfortunately, the editoral itself is wishy-washy.
Aucklanders do deserve to have a say on the super city proposal. They should get to vote yes or no on the supercity in referenda before anything is set in stone. In fact the government is required to do so.
I’ve just discovered that referenda are in fact required when there is a proposal to merge councils. Clause 49 of Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act states:
If a draft reorganisation scheme has been approved… a poll of electors on the proposal that the reorganisation scheme proceed must be held in each district or region that is directly affected by the scheme.
Strange, then, that we haven’t heard anything about referenda on the supercity. In fact as this enhanced* screenshot of the official site on the super city proposal shows, there isn’t a mention of having a referendum on the site.
lessdemocracy500Could it be that the Government intends to include in its legislation provisions to take away Aucklanders’ right to have their say in how their local government is organised? Rodney Hide earlier this month had this to say:
We need to act decisively if we are to achieve the timetable that will allow the new structure to be established before October next year. This will allow Aucklanders to have their say on whom they want to run their region and represent their communities.
To achieve that timetable it appears that Rodney wants to ignore the requirement to hold a referendum. That really would be an attack on democracy. To get the venal city structure that he wants and National is agreeing to, they will have to remove a protection on our democracy first.

*I’d suggest that they enhance the logo on the site as I did, to avoid also violating “truth in advertising” legislation.

[updated – put the correct clause in, clause 46 is who can authorise and clause 49 is the requirement for the poll]

18 comments on “When is the required referendum?”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    Better to delay elections, if necessary, than deny voters a referendum. Hopefully a Question to the Minister as soon as Parliament resumes will clear this up.

  2. randal 2

    hey lp
    wodney always wants to ignore democratic process
    that would require listening to people and being civil
    the very thing he says he wants but the very thing he will not deal with
    Auckland deserves more than being railroaded by a gang of retailers and realtors
    the same sharks that held up reform when they could get more out of it but now it suits them to bulldoze the entire structure to achiever their venal ends

  3. the sprout 3

    Arrogant and out of touch already.

    What will they be like in a year’s time?

  4. Tigger 4

    Word is that Key has allowed Hide to run free on this issue – he’s said he just wants a result and doesn’t care how its done. So effectively this whole thing is one big ACT project. Not only does Rodney want to ignore due process, he’s throwing tantrums to push things through even faster.

    Hide doesn’t care about ‘Maori’ stuff either – he’s already been talking about any wards with Maori names in disparaging terms (literally ‘We don’t need that Maori sh*t’).

    Further word is that Rodney is already talking about selling council properties (the new Waitakere building was mentioned by name) and prepping council assets for sale post the next election.

  5. Jasper 5

    Ah, but if you read further, no poll is required if the matters pertain to one or more of Subclause 40.

    40 (2) b.,

    “whether or not good local government would be promoted by the inclusion of any part of the district or region in the district or region of another local authority (whether by the constitution of a new district or region or by the alteration of boundaries)”

    40 (2) c –
    whether or not the system of representation in the district or region best meets the “criteria in clause”

    and 40 (2) d-
    “Whether or not good local government of the district or region would be best promoted by
    (i) the system of communities (if any) and the responsibilities, duties, and powers of the community boards in the district or region; or
    (ii) an alternative system of communities; or
    (iii) a change in the responsibilities, duties, and powers of the community boards in the district or region”

    It looks like to me that there is no requirement for a poll.

    • lprent 5.1

      Wrong, they cannot approve under that clause. That simply gives criteria that they have to consider for simple reorganization related to shifts in the electorate – ie for demographic change. The key word is ‘solely’ in clause 49.

      They will have to approve under clause 46(1).

      49 Polls must be held
      (1) If a draft reorganisation scheme has been approved under clause 46, a poll of electors on the proposal that the reorganisation scheme proceed must be held in each district or region that is directly affected by the scheme.
      (2) Despite subclause (1), no poll of electors must be held on a reorganisation scheme that deals solely with 1 or more of the matters listed in clause 40(2)(b), (c), or (d).

      Damn just noticed that I’d accidentally put clause 46 in the post when I meant clause 49… Fixed.

  6. sean 6

    and which of those sub-clauses is relevant to the supercity? None of them.

    When Banks Peninsula merged with Christchurch City we had a referendum first.

  7. Rich 7

    I thought that, but was assuming they simply plan to pass legislation that removes the need for a referendum.

    • Ari 7.1

      In which case they’re leaving themselves wide-open for all sorts of attacks on how they’re repealing our democracy.

      • Rex Widerstrom 7.1.1

        And in which case I would hope to see a revival of the Free Speech Coalition. Looks like it was mothballed a little too quickly…

  8. Graeme 8

    While the point about needing democratic buy-in is well-made, the obvious and simple response to the idea that this is legally required is that:

    1. Schedule 3 applies to re-organisation proposals proposed under section 24 of the Local Government Act 2002.

    2. This is not a re-organisation proposal under section 24 of the Local Government Act 2002.

    3. Therefore schedule 3 does not apply.

    • lprent 8.1

      If this isn’t a re-organisation of the governing structure of Auckland – then what is it? In particular what act(s) are they going to hook this auckland legislation to?

      Or is this going to be a seperate act that obviates the Local Government Act? I think that we should raise a petition under the Local Government Act to change whatever Rodney brings in (assuming it as stupid as what he is currently proposing).

      I’m pretty sure that we can get a lot of support and easily 10% to get a reorganisation proposal under the Local Government Act.

      • Graeme 8.1.1

        This is going to be a separate law. It has to be.

        We’re to create an semi-executive Mayor, allow the mayor the appoint the deputy mayor and council chairs and propose the budget; create never-before seen local boards, etc. etc.

        It needs a new law if they’re going to do it.

  9. Jasper 9

    I stand corrected.

  10. jarbury 10

    This is an interesting issue that you’ve raised lprent. I have heard that the government wants to introduce an “Auckland Bill” – which I guess will try to bypass all these referendum issues. Perhaps the government is trying to push a dodgy “this is not amalgamation, but rather dis-establishment of all existing councils and re-establishment of one new council”.

    It is pretty dodgy though.

  11. wren 11

    Graeme, that’s only because the government is going to extraordinary steps to bypass the normal reorganisation process by putting up this Auckland Bill. Why can’t the Auckland Bill include a referendum like the normal process?

  12. Macro 12

    Dodgy it is! and that’s is just another example of the way this crowd work! Not one of them you could trust as far as you could throw them. The electors were warned before the election that it was a choice about who one could trust – many chose to ignore that warning and now the majority are paying for it. The people of Epsom have a lot to answer for!
    Despite Graeme’s legal exposition – it would still be worth a shot to challenge the proposed amalgamation in the Courts – and would HIGHLIGHT to the people of NZ just how dodgy and undemocratic this whole shoddy mess is.

  13. Adrian 13

    There is no democracy at the local level. When only about 30% of people vote how can one even talk about democracy?

    Maybe with a single council there will be more voter turn out. That can only be a good thing for the left. Usually the higher the voter turn out the better the left does. I live on the North Shore and with a very low turnout we got stuck with Williams or whatever his name is. How many of us can name any councillors let alone our community board members, or health board, or the many other boards and councils that we vote for every 3 years – usually based on a paragraph of information in the booklet that comes with the ballot.

    As soon as the sick council is put to sleep the better.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • More proof National not delivering for New Zealanders
    The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report is more hard evidence of the growing poverty in New Zealand, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National claims to be delivering for New Zealanders. This report puts the lie ...
    19 hours ago
  • Strong support from medical community for Healthy Homes Bill
    More than a thousand medical professionals, medical students, and other New Zealanders have shown their support for Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    22 hours ago
  • Labour will fund Buller Health Centre
    A Labour Government will fully fund the Buller Integrated Family Health Centre in Westport, confirming its commitment to the people of the West Coast and the role of central government to fund essential public services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David ...
    22 hours ago
  • National’s affordable promise for Auckland more smoke and mirrors
    The 26,000 additional houses National plans to build in Auckland on public land over the next decade include fewer than 5,000 affordable homes, while more than 60 per cent will be available for speculators to buy, says Leader of the ...
    1 day ago
  • National out of touch over immigration
    National’s abrupt backflip on their recently-announced changes to immigration shows they never understood the problem and just came up with a confused knee jerk response, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Regional communities and businesses were quite right to ...
    2 days ago
  • English out of touch on homelessness
    Bill English’s comments that he doesn’t know why people are complaining about the blowout in the number of homeless families the government is putting up in motels just shows how tired and out of touch National is after nine years, ...
    2 days ago
  • All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care
    Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “As someone who has survived cancer I ...
    3 days ago
  • Infrastructure announcement too long coming
    “What took you so long?” is Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement of a new infrastructure investment vehicle. Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says Labour announced its policy in 2015 to debt-finance infrastructure and service that debt with targeted ...
    3 days ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    National has no idea how to house the record number of people entering New Zealand, let alone cope with the pressure on health, education, and transport from this record population growth, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to invest $4 billion in education
    Labour’s Education Manifesto will bring positive change across the education sector and is backed by a massive investment, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Labour’s plan will see an extra $4 billion invested over the next four years. It’s organised ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s shame: worst homelessness in the OECD
    National’s legacy is a housing crisis that has given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour taking action on school donations
    Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to work with Queenstown to build more houses
    Labour will work with Queenstown-Lakes District Council, iwi, and the Community Housing Trust to build the modern, affordable housing Queenstown desperately needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Nats blow the Budget on motels after bowling state houses
    National is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels, the legacy of nine years of selling off and knocking down state houses, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    6 days ago
  • New revelations in Joanne Harrison report
    The State Services Commission’s report into the treatment of whistle-blowers by Joanne Harrison has revealed new accusations against the convicted fraudster, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.  “The report found that four staff inside the Ministry of Transport who had raised ...
    6 days ago
  • Snafu at Princess Margaret
    Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “The Government must accept that Christchurch is still recovering ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan to build a fairer New Zealand
    Labour will re-build our housing, health and education while responsibly managing New Zealand’s finances, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “Under Labour’s Fiscal Plan we will deliver big investments in the services we all need and care about, invest ...
    7 days ago
  • Nats show they’re the tax dodgers’ best friends
    The government is taking the knife to IRD at a time when we need a highly skilled department to ensure that multinationals and speculators don’t get away with dodging tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour secures the future for NZ Super
    A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “One of the first things a Labour-led Government will ...
    1 week ago
  • Multinationals must pay fair share of tax
    A Labour Government will crack down on multinational companies that are dodging paying their fair share of tax, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions according to the IRD because multinational companies can ...
    1 week ago
  • ACT’s approach to children backward and ill informed
    Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace
    The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Quality for Kiwi kids at ECE
    After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to boost ECE quality
    Labour will ensure kids get the best start in life by boosting funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will stump up a million dollars for Maniototo Hospital
    A Labour led Government will make a million dollars available to rebuild the Maniototo Base hospital in Ranfurly, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “This will be a much needed boost for a long overdue rebuild that has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No vision for the West Coast
    The West Coast welcomes any Government investment in our region but the lack of any real alternative vision for the West Coast’s economy is disappointing, says Damien O’Connor Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP.  “The establishment of a Mining Research Unit will ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s youth work scheme too little too late
    After nine years, National’s belated attempt to provide work opportunities for unemployed youth should be seen for what it is, a half-hearted, election gimmick from a party that’s ignored the problem till now, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis won’t fall for Joyce’s spin
    Steven Joyce’s embarrassingly obvious spin on Labour’s Families Package won’t fool anyone, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour prioritises families and public services
    Labour’s Families Package delivers a bigger income boost to more than 70 per cent of families with children than Budget 2017. By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis can’t sleep in your ghost houses, Nick
    The Government’s housing infrastructure announcement is another Nick Smith special – over-promising with no detail on delivery, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills
    Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must rule out retrospective override for Ruataniwha
    National must categorically rule out using retrospective legislation to override the Supreme Court’s decision that the land swap of conservation land flooded by the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was illegal, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney General David Parker. “Having not got their ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Flavell’s failure a win for Māori landowners
    The Māori Development Minister’s admission that his unpopular Ture Whenua Māori Bill won’t pass into law prior to the election is a victory for Māori landowners, but only a change of government will keep the Bill gone for good, says ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Stats confirm growing housing shortfall
    National’s failure to fix the housing shortage has been starkly illustrated by new statistics, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Systemic abuse of kids in state care
    After admitting there was systemic abuse of children in State care the Government must do the right thing and launch an independent inquiry, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Migrant worker exploitation needs sharper focus
    The astonishing number of employers found guilty of exploiting migrants shows that migrant exploitation is a serious problem in New Zealand, says Labour Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “A total of 53 companies have been banned from recruiting ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister faces questions over dam debacle
    Today’s Supreme Court ruling dismissing an appeal to allow a land swap for the controversial Ruataniwha Dam is a victory for our conservation estate and Hawke’s Bay ratepayers, but leaves the Conservation Minister with serious questions to answer, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Too little too late on Wellington housing
    The announcement today on social housing in Wellington by the National Government is a pitiful and cynical election ploy, says Labour’s Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. “In 2012 Housing New Zealand emptied out the Gordon Wilson Flats, taking 130 places ...
    3 weeks ago