Sue Kedgley
Wellingtonians won’t fall for Dunne’s Super city plans

Wellingtonians won’t fall for Dunne’s Super city plans

Wellingtonians are far too intelligent to fall for Peter Dunne’s ‘we must follow Auckland and become a super-city’ line.

The main (in fact only) reason Mr Dunne gives for his plea that Wellington fast-tracks into a super-city is that we must follow Auckland. If Auckland is becoming one, then we must become one too, or we will be left behind and become a ‘back water.’

This is slavish me-too-ism. Whatever Auckland does, we must do too. I don’t think Wellingtonians will buy that.

Wellingtonians will be even less enthusiastic about following the Auckland super-city model when they realise that the so called Auckland super-city is in fact a super con.

It is really nothing more than a master plan by Rodney Hide to shrink democracy, corporatize most of the Auckland Council’s functions and assets (and ready them for privatisation) and reduce the participation of ordinary Aucklanders in local government.

It is nothing more,IN other words, than Rogernomics part two.

Under Rodney Hide’s super-city plan, seven well functioning city Councils will be obliterated in October this year, and replaced by what will effectively be a form of state government –a huge, bloated bureaucracy led by a Mayor with sweeping new executive powers and 20 Councillors, who will represent one third of New Zealand’s population.

The Councillors will represent constituencies that are larger than almost anywhere else in the world – larger even than MP’s constituencies. This is hardly ‘local’ government!

Under Rodney’s model, these 20 Councillors wont have much to do, however –because virtually all of the important functions of the Council –transport, water, sewage etc, will be removed from the control of democratically elected Councillors and siphoned off into companies (called ‘Council Controlled Organisations’) which will be run by unelected and unaccountable directors appointed by Rodney Hide.

All major decisions about everything from new roads, public transport, local footpaths, water metres –will be made behind closed doors in secret company meetings by company directors, not by democratically elected Councillors in open meetings. The companies Will not even have to bother to publish agendas or minutes of their meetings.

Much has been made of local boards that will be created to represent local interests. In fact these local boards won’t have any power, resources or staff of their own. Any power that is delegated to them by the Auckland Council will be able to be removed, at whim, by the Council. In other words, they will have no genuine autonomy at all.

Is this what Wellingtonians want – a  corporatized structure masquerading as democracy? I don’t think Wellingtonians will be fooled. Far better we learn from Auckland’s mistakes and protect the local democracy that we have.

13 thoughts on “Wellingtonians won’t fall for Dunne’s Super city plans

  1. “Wellingtonians are far too intelligent to fall for Peter Dunne’s ‘we must follow Auckland and become a super-city’ line.”

    Well, you’ve lost your Auckland readers at the first sentence I’m afraid Sue. There is no shortage of Aucklanders opposed to what central govt in Wellington is forcing upon us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 (+3)

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  3. bro misses the main point as usual. The concern is not about the size of the city, but about its structural inability to be accountable to the people, i.e. lack of democratic process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1 (+10)

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  5. Try reading Sue’s post:

    All major decisions about everything from new roads, public transport, local footpaths, water metres –will be made behind closed doors in secret company meetings by company directors, not by democratically elected Councillors in open meetings. The companies Will not even have to bother to publish agendas or minutes of their meetings.

    What have you got against the public knowing what the council is doing and why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 (+10)

  6. Those of you who think the Spatial Plan is a good idea should note that Council prepares the plan, consults and then adopts it.
    No submissions, no cross submissions. no hearings, no appeals.
    And yet the Greens complained about the loss of a few appeal rights in the last reforms of the RMA.
    This does away with them for 1.5 million people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  7. It is true that most inhabitants of cities couldn’t care less about what councils do or don’t do.
    Only poorer ratepayers complain.
    And Greens!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7 (-7)

  8. Wellingtonians do actually get involved in their local body politics.

    People in general make submissions on public policy being decided at City Council level, and the councillors are varied enough that only a few issues have become very contentious due to Council disregard for public opionion and submissions.

    Genji,
    if you have never participated in any public submission process, why not?
    Do you fear ridicule of your lack of information on the topic, or are you unsure that you have the stamina for the arduous process?
    I’ll give you a hint, Auckland is the city you have got, because the majority of citizens who live there don’t participate.

    It’s called participatory democracy for a reason.

    Back to Sue’s post;
    Peter Dunne has no concept of how unrelatable he is to the majority of Welli residents, much of whom are embarrassed that he is identified as an independant MP from Ohariu, Wellington.
    He may have the burghers of Khandallah in his hip pocket, but the rest of the mostly middle-class suburbs there cringe. Oh, and the exclusive bretheren who are a large chunk of Crofton Downs love him, except for his support of gambling, smoking and alcohol. ;-)

    Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Porirua are unlikely to ever become a ‘super-city’ under his suggestions, simply because the current split of command works well enough, and the various citizenries have different goals and aspirations, so a centralised Council would hardly help to redistribute resources any better.
    I cannot envisage Ian McKinnnon taking on the kind of ego-mania that John Banks exhibits, either, although perhaps an ex-headmaster would thrive on the power.

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  9. Let me take Katie’s thread there; Should Dunedin become a supercity, someone like Benson Pope be vying for the position?

    Back to Sue’s post; I would like to tell Sue that I have put in my submission against Rodney Hides heinous proposals in his super city bill.
    In my introduction I noted that although I live in the South Island I thought that if passed into law that bill would set a very dangerous precident for the rest of the country.

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  10. This supercity is a massive f*** up and I for one will be voting for anyone in 2011 that comes up with excellent proposals to fix by putting the democracy back in local democracy… Start by bringing transport back into the light…

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