25 June 2008

Auckland doesn't need mini government

Alex Swney is wrong, with his solution to the problem "the current regime was fragmented, duplicated, obstructive and costly". You see it wouldn't be if politicians stuck to their statutory minimums.

The question of how much local government Auckland needs is a function of how much you believe Aucklanders need to be forced to pay for what they may or may not use, and how much you believe their private property rights (or extensions of them) can't be an effective delineration of rights.

Until you confront the issue of what local government should do, you can't answer the question of how to set it up. At the moment legislation says local government has a power of general competence, it can do whatever it sees fit short of passing bylaws beyond statutorily defined limits.

If the debate isn't going to confront that, then it is a complete waste of time engaging in this debate. What matters is what National thinks, and sadly there is little sign that it thinks local government should, at least, be confined to what can be generously called "public goods".

So John Key, what is it? Or should I ask Hone Carter? There is enormous potential to make a real difference to ratepayers.

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