How come the Government says that the people of Auckland should decide whether they want Maori seats in a referendum after the supercity is formed, but they don’t get to have a referendum on whether they want a supercity at all?
It’s clear there is widespread opposition to the plan to merge the existing councils into one and eliminate local democracy. The Government has totally ignored that opposition. Not only is it refusing to make any concessions to people’s concerns, it’s planned structure is actually less democratic than the one the Royal Commission came up with.
A referendum is the normal process required by the Local Government Act when councils merge. The Government is avoiding this requirement by passing an overriding law.
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide is a big advocate of referenda on other issues. He championed the pro-smacking referendum and he’s proposing councils make greater use of referenda on spending issues. When it comes to the biggest reform of local government in 20 years, though, well that’s ‘too complicated’ for ordinary people to understand and a simple ‘do you support the Government’s proposal to establish a single Auckland Council?’ ‘Yes/No’ isn’t possible.
It’s not right. The people of Auckland should be allowed their say.