Monday, June 08, 2009

Does Rodney have a secret agenda?

I can only hope.

I was thrilled to read a Green press release that there is apparently a Cabinet Paper to reduce the powers of local government "This Cabinet paper wants to implement ACT Party policy by narrowing the powers of local government and making it easier to sell Auckland's $23 billion in public assets. The paper proposes to do this without public consultation" says an exasperated Russel Norman.

Russel is upset that Rodney Hide wants to remove special requirements to consult when contracting out council services or privatising, special requirements that don't apply when councils want to grow their activities - which of course, Russel wholeheartedly welcomes, as the Greens pretty much just love government growing.

Although Sue Kedgley hysterically waxes on that "This paper reveals Act's secret agenda to castrate local democracy. He is trying to reduce local government's powers to the point where they are unable to deliver social and environmental services, which are surely their core business." she has often been the mistress of hyperbole. I can only dream she is right.

For the Greens to believe local government's core business is delivering social and environmental services, when most people would say it is roads, footpaths, rubbish collection and perhaps libraries and handling complaints of nuisance, is nonsensical.

It exposes the Green's agenda for local government which is for "democracy" to mean whenever someone wants local government to interfere in something, it should. For Kedgley to claim cutting local government down drastically is "extremely dangerous" shows she isn't taking her pills. However, Sue thinks burgers, cellphones, foreign TV programmes, cars and most things imported are bad.

It begs the question though - if Rodney DOES have a secret agenda for the new Auckland mega city to have drastically curtailed powers, wouldn't it be helpful if he told us? How many ratepayers would welcome with open arms councils no longer able to set up businesses, subsidise businesses, set up hospitals, schools or radio stations?

His press release is a teaser for more "Cabinet has authorised a review of the Local Government Act 2002 to improve the transparency, accountability and fiscal management of local government. I want the Act reviewed to ensure ratepayers and citizens have better tools for controlling council costs, rates and activities. I will be looking at ways of ensuring local government operates within a defined budget and focuses on core activities"

Here's a start Rodney - get local authorities to send you a list of all of the activities they do, and then sit down for a day and cross off those that are unnecessary and absurd - then whatever is left should be what is statutorily defined as what local authorities can do.

Anything else councils do will have to be undertaken by companies that councillors themselves, and willing citizens (or anyone) have shares in by voluntary contribution. You see that would be truly democratic - on the one hand, small tightly constrained councils, and on the other hand the power (which has always existed) for those who want more to be done, to do it themselves and pursuade others to pay for it.

Somehow, I don't think the Greens (or Labour for that matter), really believe in democracy that is about voting with your own money, rather than voting to pilfer someone else's.


1 comment:

Sally said...

"Anything else councils do will have to be undertaken by companies that councillors themselves, and willing citizens (or anyone) have shares in by voluntary contribution."

In making submissions I have made similar noises to my council.

'Strangely' not one councillor, manager or CEO had the courage to speak for or against.

The LG Act 2002 is a shonky piece of legislation. Councils are forced to take into account EQUALLY the social, economic, environmental and social well-beings of communities, in the present and for the future.

Condescending CEO’s along with predominately brain washed councillors is exploiting to the full this socialistic ‘purpose’ of local government.