Saturday, February 14, 2009

Big powerful Auckland council run by a celebrity?

The Sunday Star Times suggests this.

However, Aucklanders should say thanks but NO thanks, if what they want is lower rates and for local infrastructure to be provided on the basis of need, user pays and economic efficiency.

A big powerful council will want to get into every aspect of policy.

A celebrity Mayor would find it difficult to resist what they tend to be addicted to - attention and applause. Thousands would run to the Mayor wanting help and the drug of big government - OPM - Other People's Money. After all, what celebrity wants to be Mayor and simply say "no. You should try to convince people to pay voluntarily".

The next battle for Auckland should be about resisting a supercouncil. The Labour government inspired Royal Commission should be ignored. The key issue is what is the role of local government.

That is a debate the Royal Commission never was asked to enter into, because Labour's belief is "whatever the local community empowers it to do" - which of course simply means "whatever councillors want".

THAT ladies and gentleman is the problem of Auckland local government - it has become the hobby horse of far too many power hungry petty fascists, tempered by good natured people who seek good governance. These battles shouldn't happen - local government, if it is to exist, should be confined to "public goods". National could do worse than introduce a new Local Government Bill, that gives councils 3 years to divest themselves of activities that are not "public goods". That same period should include a prohibition on ANY rates increases over that time.

Rodney Hide is Minister of Local Government, you would think top of his agenda would be abolishing the power of general competence - the power that currently gives councils the power to do whatsoever they like, as long as it is ratified as part of the Long Term Council Community Plan. Abolishing this would do more for Auckland governance than any behemoth sized council.

1 comment:

Sally said...

Excellent post libertyscott!

Labours' policy belief is "whatever the local community empowers it to do" has been a disaster. The proof being the massive rate increases. The people pushing for non essential items are usually not property owners.

Not sure I entirely agree with "whatever councillors want". My experience of councillors on the whole is that they go along with what the Chief Executive wants.In many cases he is surrounded by "yes men."

We have the PC brigade voting incompetent people in with no financial nous. In the previous electon a council in Southland had no councillor with the financial skills to chair the Finance & Policy Committee. A CE with no financial background who "got rid" of numerous staff. Cost ratepayers millions.

An interesting article "Managers do the daftest things is very relevant to Councils.
http://www.economist.com/daily/columns/businessview/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13354607&fsrc=nwl