If anyone had any doubt about what the Minister of Overseas Bonking Local Government has planned for Auckland following the gerrymander favouring right-wing voting areas, that doubt should now be dispelled. Rodney Hide has introduced the third supercity Bill, the Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill, and it is set down for First Reading this week.
The Bill reveals a hardcore anti-democratic agenda for privatisation.
Sue Kedgley and David Clendon are preparing a submission guide, which should be available before the end of the week.
Meanwhile, they’ve alerted me to a few of the turds gems the Bill proposes to deliver:
- The Minister of Local Government, rather than democratically elected local politicians, will decide what Council Controlled Organisations to establish and appoint their initial directors.
- The new Council Controlled Organisation “Auckland Transport” will have between 6 and 8 voting directors, but only 2 of them can be elected members of the Auckland Council. This transfers effective control of transport-related powers and functions from elected councillors to unelected Ministerial appointees.
- Elected councillors will be prohibited from being directors of all other Council Controlled Organisations, again transferring effective control of vast areas of Auckland’s governance from elected councillors to unelected Ministerial appointees.
- Watercare Services Limited’s water pricing will not be subject to Auckland Council policy or direction from mid-2015, and the Auckland Council will be permitted to privatise it from that date.
- The Auckland Council will be permitted to sell strategic assets from mid-2012, meaning that privatisation plans can be completed before voters get a chance to have a say on them at the 2013 local elections.
- A tokenistic and toothless board will be appointed to advise on issues of significance for mana whenua and Maori within Auckland. The Auckland Council will have no obligation to follow its advice.
It is highly likely that the Bill will be open for submissions for little more than the summer holiday period to minimise opposition to it – another favourite trick of those who have no respect for democracy.
Update: Submissions on the Bill have been opened to close 12 February 2010. Sue Kedgley and David Clendon have now published a submission guide to assist people wanting to make a submission.