web analytics

Why no referendum for Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, August 31st, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack - Tags:


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.

15 comments on “Why no referendum for Auckland ”

  1. Bart 1

    I actually hope that your cries for a referendum on whether Aucklanders want a supercity are heard, because I believe that the majority of Aucklanders do want a supercity.

    “It’s clear there is widespread opposition to the plan to merge the existing councils into one and eliminate local democracy.”

    Perhaps in your circle of left leaning friends it is clear…those that I talk to tend to be in favour. I guess it is the company we choose to keep.

    • Quoth the Raven 1.1

      It is not just the left that opposes this centralisation effort. Many on the right also oppose it. If you like more and more centralised governence (think bolshevism) than so be it, but it is not really a left – right issue it is a authoritarian – anti-authoritarian issue.

      • Armchair Critic 1.1.1

        Spot on QTR. The government are legislating for more government, bigger government and less democratic representation. I don’t recall that in their pre-election promises. Unfortunately the proof won’t be evident until at least 2012.

  2. Bart 2

    One last thing..Aren’t you at odds with the previous guest post on the two referendum results where it is argued that the clear vote for “no” is infact not “clear” because “(1) The legal and social issues surrounding the referendum are genuinely complicated. In general only those who have made a particular effort to understand the issues have come to terms with them properly.”

    So if there were a referendum on the supercity and 88% say they do not want the supercity do I also get to argue that the legal and social issues around the referendum were too complicated and therefore the result is meaningless?

    • snoozer 2.1

      If the wording is clear, the wording is clear, and the outcome can’t be called into question.

      I don’t think anyone has argued there shouldn’t have ben a smacking referendum because the issue was too complicated – they argued the stupid wording of the question and the myth that smacking is banned calls into question exactly what people want as a result of the referendum.

      A yes or no vote on ‘do you want the supercity?’ would tellm you exactly what people want.

      • Bart 2.1.1

        Snoozer do you honestly believe that the referendum question on smacking somehow confused 88% of people and they therefore mistakenly voted no?

        “the myth that smacking is banned” – Is it, or is it not currently illegal for me to smack my child as part of correction. I somehow have to be able to catch my child about to hurt himself and smack him quickly before he actually hurts himself.

        • fraser

          ” before he actually hurts himself.”

          ok – not sh*t stirring – genuinely interested here – you smack your child for correction after they have already hurt themselves?

          • Bart

            Yea not shit stirring just being a wise ass?

            What i meant to say is that I have to somehow be able to catch my child about to potentially hurt himself and smack him, however if he does what it was that could have resulted in himself being hurt or killed like running onto a road then I cannot smack him. I also have to smack him just before he pushes his sister, but if he pushes his sister I cannot smack him. You know what I mean :p

            • fraser

              yeah you got me 🙂 – i was being a wise ass i spose.

              but it gets thrown up a lot (the “post smack” that is), and they all seem to fall into the “teach them a lesson” category.

              That bit i dont get – i mean the only lesson i learned was that its best to not get caught.

              also – scenario 1 youve outlined above is still legal (yes?)

      • Armchair Critic 2.1.2

        Using the word “supercity” in a referendum is like using the phrase “good parental correction”. I was never convinced smacking can be part of good parental correction, just as I am not convinced the reorganisation of local government in Auckland will make Auckland super.
        To have a referendum the question would need to read something like “do you support the proposed reorganisation of local government in Auckland?”. Of course there would need to be a firm proposal available for people to assess. Currently we don’t know many details, number of seats, ward vs. at large councillors, Maori representation, moves toward asset privatisation, boundaries of the city, it is all maybe or probably at present. So asking the question would be pointless.
        I’m still not convinced that such a wholesale reorganisation is warranted. The RC suggested cost savings (as a percentage) would not be huge, and I think they were exaggerating.

        • Bart

          To be fair, I think the term supercity refers to its size as opposed to making auckland ‘super.’

          I think what we will see is that some of those running for mayor will campaign on having maori seats, whilst others will campaign on not having maori seats. So in a roundabout way, Aucklanders are going to get their say.

          • felix

            I really hope you’re right about “super” referring to the size. Because if you’re not, the next step is calling it a “SuperDuperCity” and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of our local pollies thought that was a pretty neat name.

        • snoozer

          obviously the actual referendum wouldn’t use the term supercity.

  3. Bright Red 3

    public opinion is divided – the polls show an even split http://www.thestandard.org.nz/lost-in-translation/. even if most people support the supercity, and I don’t think they do, oppostion is widespread.

    There should be a referendum. I hope Labour will attempt to put it in the Bill when it comes back from select committee and put up a private members’ bill. One would hope ACT, if not National, would back a referendum.

  4. Find it quite strange that the standard is asking for a referendum, yet the last three big ones in the public eye, were dismissed as irrelevant.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Worsening housing crisis must prompt action
    A growing public housing waiting list and continued increase of house prices must be urgently addressed by Government, Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said today. ...
    7 hours ago
  • Twenty highlights of 2020
    As we welcome in the new year, our focus is on continuing to keep New Zealanders safe and moving forward with our economic recovery. There’s a lot to get on with, but before we say a final goodbye to 2020, here’s a quick look back at some of the milestones ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago