Supercity opposition forces will be measured in Queen St
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.”