Auckland Council is using ratepayers’ own money to try and silence ratepayers like myself who are critical of the high spending, high debt regime of Brown and Hulse. They are also trying to muzzle Councillors critical of the Brown/Hulse nexus. Here is a comment by Councillor Cameron Brewer after the latest Hulse crack down.
You wont hear us mere councillors publicly talking about the Unitary Plan after we got the hard word from the CEO and Deputy Mayor not to compromise Auckland Council's imminent decision-making role. However ever since their edict the Deputy Mayor has been (aka DM reappointment campaign) on a media blitz talking about housing and land supply issues and promoting her personal and political remedies (including appearing on nationwide TV on an expert housing panel espousing her three point plan and writing an opinion piece in the Herald) and now the CEO is threatening if we don't pass the Unitary Plan as the IHP serves it up to council this month the Government "may consider stepping in." Regardless of your politics or views on the unitary plan something is very very wrong here.
UPDATE: Here is a video of Brown/Hulse/Towns smirking together like two year olds they are while denying freedom of speech to Councillor George Wood
Social media site Facebook banned me for three days on my return from holiday even though I had not posted a blog or any comments for three weeks. I shared two petitions on Facebook and then, whammo, a ban with no explanation as to why. Obviously, some malign, undemocratic influence is at work.
Auckland Council has real clout on Facebook using large amounts of ratepayer dollars to promote itself at our expense. Council’s Communication Department, whose social media expert is political activist bureaucrat Jessica Etheridge, therefore has considerable influence. My imminent return to political commentary through my blogs and as spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance ahead of the local body elections was obviously seen as a threat.
The ban came hot on the heals of a media release by the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance where I called for the resignation of Andrew Duncan, Auckland Council’s Manager of Financial Policy.
FINANCIAL POLICY MANAGER SHOULD RETRACT ALLEGATION OR RESIGN
30 JUNE 2016
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling for the resignation of Auckland Council’s Manager for Financial Policy Andrew Duncan for statements Mr Duncan made about a leaflet drop to 72,000 households by the Ratepayers’ Alliance relating to proposed reform of the Council’s rubbish collection services that will see the costs to some households double. Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:
“Council bureaucrats should be politically neutral and ensure the public receive accurate information. Mr Duncan reacted to our campaign by suggesting it could be misleading, but has refused to withdraw those comments despite being unable to point to a single claim by the Ratepayers’ Alliance which is not backed up by the Council’s own analysis.”
"Mr Duncan won't even confirm whether he bothered to read our 10-page briefing paper before he suggested our campaign was 'misleading'. Emails released to us under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act make no suggestion he did."
“We are calling on Mr Duncan to either withdraw his allegation, or resign. Our figures and statements were based on the Council's own analysis - it's not our fault officials don't like a ratepayer group shining the light on what Council is up to."
"Aucklanders ratepayers are not served by an officialdom which bends over backward to protect its empire building and the favoured elected officials."
Political activist bureaucrats are the bane of democracy in an increasingly undemocratic local government system in New Zealand. If Council bureaucrats insist on playing politics and abandon their traditionally neutral role they must expect to come under scrutiny from political commentators. That is what democracy is all about.