INDEPENDENT NEWS

Super City steamroller cranks up a gear

Published: Fri 22 May 2009 03:02 PM
Hon Phil Goff
Leader of the Labour Party
Phil Twyford
Auckland Issues Spokesperson
22 May 2009Media Statement
Super City steamroller cranks up a gear
Auckland will for the first time be run by a non-democratically elected body as the Government continues its steamroller approach to ramming through major reforms without proper consultation, says Labour Party leader Phil Goff.
“Labour has always argued the Government has adopted a rushed and poorly thought-out process to these reforms and now an all-powerful and unelected board will begin pushing them through, despite widespread public concern.
“The Government’s five appointees to the board appear competent, although the Labour believes the region’s mayors should have been consulted,” Mr Goff said.
“Labour will scrutinise the work of the board and expects full transparency around issues such as the salaries the members will receive, paid for by Auckland ratepayers, and the decisions that are taken.
“The board has the responsibility of approving almost every decision now taken by Auckland’s councils, right down to the purchasing of toilet paper. The bottlenecking of decisions is a significant risk,” Mr Goff said.
“The ‘Rankin effect’ has forced the Government to ensure any potential conflict of interest issues around Mark Ford’s chairmanship were eradicated – undermining Rodney Hide’s initial plans around the appointments.
“We expect full transparency around any undertakings given to Mr Ford, who has given up his present positions as a result, around future positions on the management structure of the Auckland Council.
“Mr Hide’s misstep was just another example of how wobbly this rushed process has been. Today we have National MP Paul Hutchison calling for the Franklin District Council to be excluded from the Super City, when he voted for legislation last week which will disestablish the council,” Mr Goff said.
Auckland Issues spokesman Phil Twyford said the board was strong on business expertise and weak on democracy and communities.
"Mr Hide's sole concern seems to be the $28 billion of assets, which he is intent on privatising. But this is not a corporate merger, or at least it shouldn’t be. This is about the future of our city, our communities and our neighbourhoods."
ENDS

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