Su­percity op­po­si­tion forces will be mea­sured in Queen St

Central Leader - - News - By David Ke­meys

Greater Auck­land res­i­dents are be­ing urged to take to the streets to protest the su­percity.

Hikoi from across the re­gion will join other pro­test­ers for a march from the bot­tom of Queen St on Mon­day at noon.

Manukau mayor Len Brown has warned time is run­ning out for his city, which “will be lucky to have three seats” on the Auck­land Coun­cil.

His views have been dis­missed as “patch pro­tec­tion”.

“It’s time for Manukau peo­ple to speak up and let the gov­ern­ment know what they think of the plans, par­tic­u­larly around rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

He heads a coun­cil that has “al­ways prided it­self” on di­ver­sity and sup­ports the Royal Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion for Maori coun­cil­lors.

“Our peo­ple need to step up and be heard be­cause we will have to live with what is de­cided over the next few months.”

North Shore city mayor An­drew Wil­liams has also been crit­i­cal of the plans, par­tic­u­larly over a lack of con­sul­ta­tion.

“When the econ­omy is frag­ile we don’t have to turn Auck­land up­side down,” he told Prime Min­is­ter John Key, urg­ing him to lis­ten to the peo­ple and not the power­bro­kers.

Mr Wil­liams has been a critic of the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil and be­lieves it “works in a silo” with a lack of gov­ern­ment fund­ing an is­sue.

“Coun­cils don’t need to be dis­man­tled and bro­ken up into 20 to 30 lit­tle boards.”

Waitakere city’s Bob Har­vey ques­tioned where Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Rod­ney Hide was com­ing from, when his bi­og­ra­phy My Year of Liv­ing Dan­ger­ously said he had “wo­ken up to the view the coun­try would be a bet­ter place if politi­cians could give up point-scor­ing and form con­sen­sus around the is­sues”.

Pa­pakura, Franklin and com­mu­nity board rep­re­sen­ta­tives have slated the moves but Auck­land city coun­cil­lors have largely been si­lent. Na­tional MPs are in a round of com­mu­nity meet­ings but crit­ics have dis­missed them as dam­age con­trol.

North Shore’s Tony Hol­man went as far as call­ing for an Auck­land Party to be set up.

“If the gov­ern­ment gets away with this, who knows where the strip­ping away of democ­racy will end?”

The bills that al­low the changes were rushed through Par­lia­ment last week, with sup­port­ers claim­ing the pub­lic gets a say at the se­lect com­mit­tee level – al­though not on a su­percity it­self.

One of the strong­est op­po­nents was Christchurch’s Pro­gres­sive Party leader Jim An­der­ton, who called it a great leap back­wards to the days when 21 out of 22 coun­cil­lors lived east of Queen St.

“That was the rea­son why a ward sys­tem had to be in­tro­duced, so that Auck­lan­ders could be rep­re­sented on their own coun­cil.”

Mr An­der­ton, a one-time Auck­land Re­gional Au­thor­ity mem­ber, said the move would lead to as­sets be­ing sold off.

“So you can un­der­stand why the gov­ern­ment doesn’t want peo­ple to have a say.”

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