Monday, July 20, 2009

Not your's to spend Phil!

Phil Twyford, who is being touted by Brian Rudman as Labour’s big leftwing challenge in Auckland, is damning Rodney Hide’s local government policy for Auckland, with a “Not Yours to Sell” campaign regarding Auckland local government “assets”.

The campaign is to stop the government allowing the new Auckland council to sell whatever it wishes on the same basis that it currently can buy whatever it wishes. In other words, it levels the playing field ideologically between more and less government, as far as you can do. The “people’s assets” of course are anything but, since if they ever generate a financial return, the money is typically spent for local government to do more, not to reduce the burden of rates. Similarly, whenever they are a liability, few on the left are keen to let them go.

Rodney Hide’s call for a cap on rates which basically means that rates can’t increase beyond inflation, is barely a cap at all. Rates have long gone up as property values increased beyond inflation, as has the roles and activities councils have sought to pursue.

I have a simple message to Phil Twyford. Ratepayers' money is not your's to spend, or councillors. It's not your damned money! Twyford says Labour believes in "trong communities" which is code for "strong councils". Sorry Phil, communities don't exist because councils make them so, people fund raise, establish businesses and help each other out without some mediocre left wing loud mouth like Richard Northey having his hand in their wallets.

However, Twyford is of the school of thinking that government exists for the good of everyone, and if it decides to spend your money, you should gladly surrender it for the greater good (and the likes of Twyford to get a living while he spends your money).

In an age when people are scrimping and saving, and the private sector cutting back, it’s time for local government to do so as well. Rodney Hide's proposals wont decimate local government, at best they'll just stop things getting worse. What is needed at the very least is for councils to be told what they can do - and be given the next two years to get out of everything else they do.

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