David Thornton of No More Rates has issued the following media release.
Rejection of two SuperCities calls for re-examination of Auckland.
[statement from David Thornton]
The back-down by the Local Government Commission [LGC] on a Wellington SuperCity is a significant victory for that region’s ratepayers.
Throughout the submission process it was quite clear that the perceived failure of Auckland to reduce bureaucracy, and hold down rates increases, had become decisive factors in the minds of Wellington ratepayers.
The Commission itself needs to re-examine its own biased approach to re-organisation now that SuperCity proposals for Northland have also been rejected by the local population, and Hawkes Bay ratepayers are deeply divided on wholesale amalgamation.
The level of dissatisfaction in Auckland can be heard almost daily on talkback and calls for de-amalgamation are bubbling away close to the surface.
Auckland’s big mistake was to take away almost all local decision making, and then embark on major projects, most of which were to benefit the city centre.
In the five years since amalgamation many of Auckland’s outer suburbs have been rated disproportionally to fund the costs of the city and Wellington ratepayers have seen a similar fate coming their way.
Rejections of the Wellington and Northland SuperCity proposal should be a clear pointer to the Local Government Commission to immediately undertake a complete review of the Auckland Council and give its ratepayers the opportunity to give their verdict on the first five years of SuperCity.
As David Thornton says five years on from the amalgamation it is time to review the Supercity. We need to find a better way forward for the disparate communities of Auckland.
Dr. Muriel Newman had the following observations to make in a recent article concerning amalgamation of local bodies
The evidence used to defend local body amalgamations is weak. While some economies of scale may be achieved by taking a regional approach to capital intensive network operations such as transport and water services, such cooperation does not depend on the councils being amalgamated. And when it comes to the labour-intensive services provided by councils, experience shows the savings arising from local authority amalgamations are insignificant or nil. This suggests that those seeking efficiencies and cost savings should be focussing on regional cooperation and best-practice, rather than amalgamation.
This was also the conclusion of the Productivity Commission’s review of local government regulation: “The Commission found that the size of the local authority did not seem to be a factor in the extent councils followed adequate regulatory decision-making processes. Rather, leadership, culture and organisational management are the key driving factors.”
Like any organisation a strong structure and culture need to be established, but that is not enough without good leadership. Get it right and good results can flow. Get it wrong and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
The decisions by the Local Government Commission are timely. Opposition to the Mayor, Council and bureaucrats is mounting. There is a real opportunity for the ratepayers of Auckland to band together and push for change. The time is now. Don’t sit idly by. Join the resistance and come along to tonight’s meeting. Details are here