DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO - COUNCIL OFFICIALS MOUNT ILLEGAL LOBBYING EFFORT
6 JULY 2016
“The planning officials at Auckland Council are shameless” says Jo Holmes, spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, reacting to today’s NZ Herald report that the Council has spent $370,000 on a spin campaign related to the Unitary Plan while preventing ordinary ratepayers from lobbying their own elected officials.
“While the Council’s bureaucrats were muzzling elected representatives by wheeling in their lawyers to warn against engaging with their constituents' opinions, they were secretly planning this massive PR campaign of advertising and paid social media to promote the planning department’s preferred version of the Unitary Plan. It is epitome of arrogance – do as we say, not as we do.”
"Why can’t we have a Council bureaucracy that believes in democracy and political neutrality, rather than one that uses our money to buy the political process?”
Earlier this month the Ratepayers’ Alliance called on the Council’s Manager of Financial Policy, Andrew Duncan, to resign after he labelled a Ratepayers’ Alliance campaign "misleading", despite being unable (or unwilling) to point to a single aspect which justified the claim.
Some 400 members of the Ratepayers’ Alliance have emailed Mr Duncan asking him to please explain. To date, Mr Duncan has not, nor has he done anything to provide the public confidence that he is making any efforts to remain politically independent.
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has called on Auckland Council bureaucrats to be politically neutral after they used $372000 of ratepayers’ money to buy influence for their preferred version of the Unitary Plan. At the same time Council has denied democracy to ratepayers by muzzling the majority of Councillors who oppose it.