Taking a Hiding

You know your plans are not being well received when one of the major players in the sector speaks out against them. Mr Hide has already faced widespread public opposition to his plans for the Auckland Super City, as well as from other politicians, the current Auckland councils and now the President of Local Government New Zealand, Lawrence Yule.

Last week Mr Yule sent out a letter to elected members which was highly critical of Mr Hide’s plans to take away residents’ rights to have their say on the future of Auckland’s jewels.

Mr Yule gets behind Bernard Orsman’s sustained campaign in the Herald to raise awareness and present complex and important issues to Aucklanders saying that “The Herald has thrown down the gauntlet, let’s pick it up.”

Challenging words indeed especially when you look at the rest of the letter.

The logic behind the Government’s CCO proposal is unfathomable. ..under the proposals, unelected government-appointed technocrats and bureaucrats will have the power to decide on the future of billions of dollars worth of Auckland’s assets – from land to infrastructure to property.

This statement, coming from the President of what is generally a fairly non-confrontational body, is pretty direct language that reinforces what we have been saying. Auckland and its assets need to be in the control of Aucklanders, not ministerial-appointed technocrats and bueauracrats.

The proposed new regime will take away Auckland Council’s right to decide on which services should be run by a CCO, thus stripping ratepayers of yet another level of accountability and transparency.

Surely this is anathema to the principles of TAFM [Transparency, Accountability and Fiscal Management in local government] developed and driven by Minister Hide? Surely the Government and the Minister must see some irony here?

Especially since Mr Hide’s stated goal is “to put the ‘local’ back into local government”. This goal is obviously secondary to corporatising the assets of local government.

But wait here is the most damning passage about Mr Hide’s machinations:

Local Government will be working on a variety of programmes encouraging New Zealanders to vote in this year’s local government elections for a range of reasons, not least of which is do ratepayers want Auckland to be a model for the future of their assets. Watch this space.

You can read the full letter here [PDF].

Sounds like Mr Yule is worried that Auckland will be the model for any future local body amalgamations. He should be because this is a bad model. The mega-CCO system is fundamentally undemocratic and I will be pushing for amendments and supporting amendments that curtail their power.

When will Mr Hide start listening?

23 Comments Posted


    PM Watcher: You are right I am a bit slow but a bit deep as I am presenting the historical perspective and don’t you think that is important?

    However you have aroused my curiosity as to what you think is really behind the scenes. I think the public deserve to know even if it is above some folks heads.

    Please don’t be scarred of controversey (you could be famous for it) after all David Icke isn’t.

  2. Mr Hide is, as the first commentator to this article said, an arrogant and ignorant ideologue. Couldn’t put it any better. He will not change, he is, along with his ACT (the Atmosphere Can Take it) party colleagues a political, social and economic dinosaur, the asteroid called reality can’t come soon enough. These reforms are the last, I trust, gasp of an entire economic system that says bigger is better, when reality’s survival manual calls for local action and local accountability.

    John Key will before too long really begin to rue the day that Mr Hide joined his cabinet, he will certainly come to regret allowing Hide to run his local authority agenda. The proposals for the Auckland “Super City” are certainly antidemocratic, which is worrying, but are actually totally unworkable, which is less worrying, because the City’s chaos will soon turn to real political anger. John Key, for all his Teflon and Scotchgard coatings, may well not escape a few well-aimed rotten eggs and overripe tomatoes from New Zealand’s most populous city and its voting citizens. John Key’s cabinet seems fond of flying kites, but this is one kite that’s got quite a bit of wind under its sails, and might be hard to return to earth without a good deal of political damage ensuing.

    I haven’t read the articles in the New Zealand Herald, but for a right-wing paper like this to be so critical of the reforms certainly reinforces the comments made above. Of course radio and TV have failed completely to examine the worth or worthlessness of these proposals at all.

  3. If this is about democracy what is the green Party vision for Auckland (you are more about social change than urban design, urban aesthetics etc)? While Aucklands population is set to soar have you ever expressed concern about growth pressures on Aucklanders? As Helen Clark imported Chinese etc in order to produce an economic stimulus (and made desirable locations unaffordable for working people) you made encouraging noises about migration*. Presumably gardens with pretty flowers and a back yard are bourgeois? Apart from being in favour of public transport we haven’t seen much of a green heart.

    * http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/greens-counter-peters-welcoming-immigration-policy

  4. No, Drakula, Sleepyday said Act was doing National’s bidding. I said ‘and loving it’.

    I am 10 steps ahead of you Drak about what I think is truly happening behind the scenes, but I don’t think the public are quite ready to believe it yet, probably not until it’s too late.


    Don’t get me wrong I am very glad that people are taking to the streets.

    The public still percieves the National Party as a right conservative party representing business communities within the confines of our national morays.

    They are nothing of the sort!! NAT/ACT are very much right radical liberals insofar that they want to tear down, and privatise as much of the infrastructure as possible.

    It is interesting as I am studying the transition of the old Republic of Rome to the imperialist system that took its place, that of Augustus Ceasar and I can’t help but seeing the parrallels.

    Then Lenin describes the final stages of capitalism descending into imperialism where capital concentrates itself into fewer and fewer hands.

    PM Watcher claims that ACT are doing Nationals bidding, well maybe that is correct or even if that were visa versa it would be beside the point.

    In reality both ACT and National are doing the bidding of the transnational monopolies regardless of the rhetoric of the national flag, Gallipoli, and the good old All Blacks!!

    These are mere diversions!!!!

    So as you all may be well aware this oligarchy of transnationals have gone way beyond national boarders, are seeking to obliterate democracy and replace it with an imperialist system that serve their ends.

    This imperialist system will be the ultimate antithesis to any progress with regards to environmental and social change. THIS IS GLOBAL IMPERIALISM!!!!!

    It is history repeating itself.

  6. Until recently I thought that Donkey was too naive to be able to survive in politics. Now I am convinced otherwise. He has managed to get his party’s right wing agenda implemented by another party!!! ACT are taking the flack for these changes but I have almost no doubt that ACT are just doing National’s bidding.

  7. Amazing that Epsom can have so much power – hopefully they’ll go back to voting Nat’ at the next election and Rodney and ACT will be toast

    At least MMP makes it fun when we’re getting screwed !

  8. Especially since Mr Hide’s stated goal is “to put the ‘local’ back into local government”.

    If local ~= not-Wellington ~= irrelevant, then he’s attempting to follow his stated goal.

    His Achilles Heel is still Epsom, where he was elected by National supporters. Under what conditions would they be unhappy to have Auckland council property expropriated?

  9. Katie, I agree that public protests have often occurred during past National governments, but the current changes being forced on local body politics and education are approaching the groundshifts of the Lange/Douglas era. New Zealanders will protest about increases in vehicle licensing costs and rugby games but where were the protests when our public assests were sold off? I’m worried that the complexities around educational assessment and local body democracy lack the black and white clarity to really mobilise the masses. The NZEI call of “Trial the Standards not our Kids” is easy to support but if this is not successful the next battle line is not so straight forward. This National government is very clever at creating crisis and urgency where it doesn’t exist and it does appear to provide a mandate for action for many (and the media love a crisis, real or not).

  10. Greenfly: Correct.

    Katie: On civil disobedience by the masses. A good friend of mine who is a committed communist told me once that he thought of voting ACT.


    Well he reasoned that ACT are so far to the liberal right that should a government act upon all their policies then that would bring the people out onto the streets!!!!! And ultimately bring down the system!!!

    I have an uneasy feeling that your observations are proving him to be correct. would that be the case?

  11. “For those who know their history why did Brutus assasinate Ceasar?”

    Was it because Caesar didn’t come through with the promised knife-block Christmas present?

    Sprout, your concerns over the small number of organisers is a valid one. The best and most genuine groundswells though, spontaneously attract as many people as are required.
    In saying that, your role as a clarion is recognised, applauded and encouraged.

  12. Sprout –
    civil disobedience for the masses always increases during a National Government – see Muldoon (Springbok Tour)(Anti-Nuclear legislation), Shipley (how can anyone forget the ‘Burn, Shipley, Burn’ rallies after she cut benefits in the Mother-of-All-Budgets), and now Key has had bikies flocking to object to ACC levy changes, countless petition presentations about Saving RadioNZ, Not Mining Coromandel/West Coast/etc, soon there will be Uni students on the march due to proposed Tertiary course cuts, and so the list goes on – one small NZEI march has already happened around pay equity issues, but National Standards might bring more of them out onto the streets.

  13. What is Hides agenda? well I can sum it up in one word IMPERIALISM consolidating power to the very few and deligating the governing decisions to a few bureaucrats who are totally dependent and therefore totally obsequious to the whims of the minister, or should I say Furhrer.

    Aucklanders need slapping over the face (metaphorically) this is a very dangerous situation.

    For those who know their history why did Brutus assasinate Ceasar?

  14. The concern I have, Greenfly, is that the very people who have the energy to canvas the streets, organise the workers and educate the public can often be the same for each campaign. It takes only a few to change legislation and government policy and many to educate and organise the public at large to a level that will shift government thinking.

    While personality politics is something I don’t feel comfortable with, the reality is that people like Anne Tolley and Rodney Hide are being allowed to decide our future for us and that makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable. The National Standards campaign has been running for some time, yet the logic of the arguments and the high level of support from schools and communities have barely penetrated the minister’s thinking. Many school principals now have the dilemma of following what they believe is professionally correct or carrying out what is legally required. It angers me that this government is placing such pressure on our community leaders. Civil disobedience does not come easy for your average New Zealander but that appears to be becoming the only course of action left.

  15. Talk of technocrats is reminescent General Park in S. Korea… yes? Those guys were all – well mostly – hyped on prototype free markets, Friedmann, Chicago Boys stuff ..

    Back then they just took over the General’s rule and later took him aboard for legitimacy’s sake (dictator-ship legitimacy..) and the General so happy about this.. until it fell apart.

    Could such folks be who Hide is listening to.. answerable to..? Yeah, sure, there could be lingo probs with the uninitiated.. especially political opponents…

    Just asking..

  16. Entirely correct sprout.

    There is, as a result, lots of talk about drawing lines in the sand, and it’s meant literally. If you can’t be heard and felt at the level you describe, then it comes down to the beaches, forestry roads, staff room doors and city streets.

    Ka mau te wehi!

  17. We are rapidly losing our ability to participate in much of the decision making involving education, our national parks and now the democracy within local government. Perhaps there is a plan to hit a number of targets at once and any opposition will become so fragmented in trying to fight multiple fires, it will lessen its effectiveness. The public will also switch off and get sick of signing petitions for this and attending meetings for that. Although I live well south of Auckland, the ramifications of the Government’s proposals will set worrying precedents for us all.

    The arrogance of current ministers to put themselves above the experts is also a concern. I am not aware of Anne Tolley having the credentials to over-ride all the education academics and authorities when deciding the future of education and I am unaware of Rodney’s qualifications or experience in local government.

  18. “under the proposals, unelected government-appointed technocrats and bureaucrats will have the power to decide on the future of billions of dollars worth of Auckland’s assets…”

    Never mind what will happen under the CCO’s; this is pretty much what is already happening right now, with the ATA making wide-ranging decisions about future of Auckland governance, without the inconvenience of any public scrutiny.

    What democratic involvement did Auckland voters have in the selection of Mark Ford? Moreover, what exactly are he and his minions doing to the city’s future, and what will their bill to the new Auckland Council be?

    Journalists should be queuing up outside the ATA’s Grafton HQ, and phoning Mr Ford night and day to get some answers.

  19. Mr Hide won’t ever start listening. He is an arrogant and ignorant ideologue. I would suggest that it is John Key and the Auckland-based National MPs that the heat needs to go on. It is they who are failing to restrain Hide form these anti-democratice excesses.

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