The bureaucrats colluded in concealing the worst excesses of Len Brown’s mayoralty until he had been elected for a second term. Then Whaleoil’s revelations of the Mayor’s affair opened up the rotting carcass for all to see. From private gyms to secret rooms, from ratepayer funded junkets abroad to gas guzzling limos, from a 21 member private staff of sycophants and spin doctors to favours for friends, the Mayor’s culture of waste spread throughout the organisation.
New ways of wasting ratepayers money were being introduced daily while core services were being cut to ribbons. Useless ‘advisory panels’ appeared like maggots; bureaucrats on fat salaries started clogging up the arteries of good governance. Debt spiralled out of control.
While all that was going on democracy was being undermined through the establishment of race-based, non-elected members with voting rights on Council. Property rights, the fundamental building block of western democracy, were being dismantled with the introduction of the ‘Taniwha Tax’ into Auckland’s Unitary Plan. A cult of racketeering and extortion was introduced into Council. Some unelected bureaucrats have allowed power go to their heads and publicly mock Council’s own consultation process and brag about being ‘protected’ by the Mayor.
It’s Groundhog Day at Council and ratepayers have been footing the bill each year at more than five times the rate of annual inflation.
It’s time to get back to the fundamental purpose of local government, spelled out in the Local Government Act, which is to ‘meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of the regulatory functions in a way that is most cost efficient and effective for households and businesses’.
That means good quality roads, water and wastewater, rubbish collections, parks, libraries and sports fields.
From tomorrow the new Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance will be calling time on Auckland Council’s culture of waste. You can support them by joining through their website at www.ratepayers.nz