Su­percity slated by pol­icy ex­pert

Central Leader - - News -

The gov­ern­ment has its Auck­land su­percity plan wrong but won’t lis­ten to calls to back down, a lead­ing ex­pert says.

AUT Uni­ver­sity In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Pol­icy di­rec­tor David Wil­son has launched a sting­ing broad­side against the plans.

He said the gov­ern­ment had “taken one of the Royal Com­mis­sion’s head­lines but re­moved many of the mech­a­nisms that would have achieved bet­ter re­gional gov­er­nance”.

Mr Wil­son said the gov­ern­ment should go back to the orig­i­nal re­port in­stead of its own pro­pos­als.

The first two bills to cre­ate the su­percity were in­tro­duced into Par­lia­ment this week – the first, un­der ur­gency, to es­tab­lish the new Auck­land Coun­cil as a le­gal en­tity and set up the agency that will lead the tran­si­tion process.

The sec­ond will go to a se­lect com­mit­tee and out­line the new coun­cil’s struc­ture.

But Mr Wil­son said the gov­ern­ment plan was so flawed it was doubt­ful it would work, left too much to chance and was “a shadow of the com­mis­sion’s re­port”.

“There is a real dis­quiet that a gen­uine op­por­tu­nity has been lost by the gov­ern- ment’s han­dling of this.”

In 2006 Mr Wil­son was part of a team of ex­perts given the task of re­view­ing Auck­land gov­er­nance. They called for stronger re­gional lead­er­ship, and in 2007 and 2008 he sup­ported sub­mis­sions to the com­mis­sion call­ing for bet­ter gov­er­nance. Ear­lier this year he peer-re­viewed the com­mis­sion’s sec­tion on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

But he did not be­lieve the gov­ern­ment would lis­ten or change its ap­proach.

“The com­mis­sion’s pro­posal was the re­sult of 18 months of re­search, over 3500 sub­mis­sions, and dis­cus­sions with lead­ing in­ter­na­tional ad­vi­sors. It is a solid piece of ev­i­dence-based work,” Mr Wil­son said.

In con­trast, the gov­ern­ment had “fun­da­men­tally mis­un­der­stood” the prob­lem in Auck­land.

He said Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Rod­ney Hide wanted to “fight parochial­ism and crack heads to­gether”, but that wasn’t the is­sue.

Ditch­ing the com­mis­sion’s plan for six lo­cal coun­cils un­der­neath the su­per coun­cil in favour of 20 to 30 lo­cal boards would de­liver “point­less” boards that lacked the size, re­sources and au­thor­ity to make ef­fec­tive de­ci­sions for Auck­land, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.