Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Imagining Auckland: no thanks, actually ...

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  • Gareth Ward,

    I wholy agree with the gutting of local representation - I was really hoping to see a downwards strengthening of the local boards with all other "central" services subsumed up to a SuperCity. Something more akin to London's Borough model (although I'd have advocated for less operational authority at that level than London seems to have).

    But I sincerely hope we don't baby/bathwater this. It's good to see Rodney et al stating similar concerns so perhaps we can still see the final model more akin to what I described above. Because single authority around public transport, regional-buildings-of-importance, water, rates etc is a very positive step for me.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    The guys at Koordinates have started an Official Information Blog which is a running commentary of their OAI requests. It makes for interesting reading.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The guys at Koordinates have started an Official Information Blog which is a running commentary of their OAI requests. It makes for interesting reading.

    That's a great blog! Very useful ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's good to see Rodney et al stating similar concerns

    Yes, I'm pleasantly surprised by that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Something I saw was:
    As part of the proposed changes, an area currently in the Waikato region, including Tuakau, Pokeno and Mercer, would be included in the new Auckland region.

    I thought they could also add the rest of the Waikato, the Manawatu and the South Island. They could call the resulting supercity "New Zealand".

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Without having read the whole report yet, it does not seem to distinguish properly between operational and governance levels in proposing "efficiencies". Amalgamating some operational functions may make sense, but that does not mean the same applies to representative functions.

    Be interested to hear from anyone who has delved into the Commission's alternative proposals featuring more of these "Local Councils".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16471 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Anyway, seriously:
    - is there going to be a referendum on this, or is it just going to be foisted?

    - I think the system of local democracy being presented is deliberately majoritarian. I'd suggest having a proportionately representative council (with maybe 60 councillors, similar in electorate size to NZ MPs) electing a mayor from their number. That would ensure that the mayor had the support of a majority, rather than the grudging support of a plurality.

    - Local bodies should have control of their own budgets and taxation, including the form of tax (rates, local income tax, tourist tax, development taxes). They should also have autonomy and be accountable to their voters, not the tier of government above.

    - People should be able to choose their local body and the nature of services it provides. For some places (like Waiheke) it's likely that the community would want to have the local body provide most services. Others may be happy with a central council and a minimal community board. It should be up to people to choose.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    It's hard not to be cynical with the whole thing.

    And God help us all if Cit-Rats get control over the whole region. Perhaps this might be the first opportunity to really consign them to opposition on an ongoing basis. If ever there was a less visionary group of politicians, I'd be surprised.

    Reorganisation gives the illusion of progress and usually achieves very little.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 176 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    That's a great blog! Very useful ...

    Well, it's not bad for a couple of IT people who are new to this whole OIA thing that's been around for more than 25 years (in this country). I/S's and Steven Price's blogs are more informed. A really helpful contribution would be if they could adapt What Do They Know from the MySociety folks to New Zealand.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'm cautiously in favour of the supercity concept, if it will ensure basic services can be provided cheaper and more efficiently. What bothers me are:

    1. the potential loss of any local voice. I think this is a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed.

    2. Please, PLEASE, don't let us have a "Lord Mayor". The title has all sorts of connotations. Do we need the rest of the country thinking we're lording it over them?

    3. John Banks. Banks was campaigning for mayor of the supercity before the recommedation was even made. He's probably got a good shot at getting the job.

    4. Bureaucracy. We assume there will be efficiency gains, but can we be sure? Or are we just going to end up with a giant monster?

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I thought they could also add the rest of the Waikato, the Manawatu and the South Island. They could call the resulting supercity "New Zealand".

    Wouldn't those places all just become "South Auckland"?

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    So, if you live on an island you will still have local representation, but the offer does not apply anywhere else in the region. Apart from being messy and incoherent, this idea seems to be based on a very limited idea of what constitutes a community.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I wholy agree with the gutting of local representation - I was really hoping to see a downwards strengthening of the local boards with all other "central" services subsumed up to a SuperCity. Something more akin to London's Borough model (although I'd have advocated for less operational authority at that level than London seems to have).

    I'm not sure how the Auckland Community Boards work.

    Here in Dunedin however, they were created when the various city councils (Port Chalmers, Mosgiel, Waikouiti etc) were all merged into the Dunedin City Council about 20 years ago.

    In order to assure people that they'd still have local representation community boards were created to replace the city councils that got wiped out.

    Except of course people who were in the original urban council didn't get community boards. So there is an additional layer of representation for the following areas:

    * Chalmers
    * Mosgiel-Taieri
    * Otago Peninsula
    * Saddle Hill
    * Strath Taieri
    * Waikouaiti Coast

    But not for other areas. North Dunedin, which is an overwhelmingly student population could do with a community board as much as any of the above, but doesn't have one.

    They should be consistently applied or they should go is my opinion.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    On the Auck/Well thing, I'm trying to remember the last time Simon Wilson was actually involved in anything creative in Wellington outside laying out Consumer, but maybe that's just me. You'd never think he used to be a student firebrand, would you?

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    A really helpful contribution would be if they could adapt What Do They Know from the MySociety folks to New Zealand.

    I'll second that. It's a fantastic idea which provides a good public resource both of stuff that's been dug up, and areas people are looking into.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Please, PLEASE, don't let us have a "Lord Mayor". The title has all sorts of connotations. Do we need the rest of the country thinking we're lording it over them?

    Particularly since such views tend to lead to things liek this?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1630 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    is there going to be a referendum on this

    No.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16471 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    A really helpful contribution would be if they could adapt What Do They Know from the MySociety folks to New Zealand.

    I'll second that. It's a fantastic idea which provides a good public resource both of stuff that's been dug up, and areas people are looking into.

    Even more useful would be to use their apparent geospatial background to add geotagging to the requests and responses. A Google Earth layer for accessing official information that relates to your locality?

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And God help us all if Cit-Rats get control over the whole region.

    More than likely, given first past the post and the fiscal resources needed to campaign across a large region, says IdiotSavant.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16471 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    part of the local issue is that Dunedin is HUGE, especially for it's population - in fact most of it is farmland, very little of it is 'city', though by far the bulk of the population lives in urban areas - the people up in Middlemarch do have genuinely different needs and concerns from those in the city, but because most of the voting population is urban they get little representation

    I think your argument about the students has some merit - but do you serious;y expect the current council to listen? the anti-stadium meeting filled the town hall last night, but the good ol' boys in the tartan mafia will ignore it

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Particularly since such views tend to lead to things liek this?

    In that case I withdraw my opposition to John Banks' candidacy.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Give the OIA guys a break, it's only a 1st gen site. I'm sure they're taking notes. ;-)

    That's an awesome cat vid on Leo's blog. It didn't seem worried at all, and managed to find its way round quite well.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan McKenzie,

    Re the Royal Commission's report.

    My prediction is that the current government will try to bury the recommendations of the report, or at the most, significantly water them down. The ostensible reason will be the loss of democratic representation, but the real reason will be that a super-city that contains a third of NZ's population would terrify a conservative central government. The new city might demand a revenue base that is wider than rating. (The most recent attempt at that was the regional petrol tax and that's been seen off). It might then want more autonomy in determining and meeting needs. That means that central govt politicians don't get to decide who gets the pork.

    So expect to see some cosmetic changes, more central government directed "co-ordination"*, but no real change, with the potential loss in local democracy being cited as a reason for retaining the status quo.

    Anyone serious about having the new proposals adopted needs to seriously address local representation issues, for example by proposing a larger number of 2nd-tier councils than the current six.

    *In the early 1980s, I worked for a branch of the Ministry of Works which serviced the Auckland Public Expenditure Committee, a co-ordination group which was the then National Govt's attempt to hold off pressure for amalgamation of the 25-odd city, borough and county councils that made up Auckland. That was done by making the local mayors feel important. Expect to see something similar.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    having spent about five years covering AK's community boards in the late 90s I'd say they're more cuddly idea than effective representation.

    from where I sat it was only ever the same old obsessives - aka water pressure et al - who showed up to argue about footpaths and the same old faces standing at the elections, leading to an self-satisfied circle of power trippers, empire builders and terminal bores on both sides, several of whom are still at large.

    even when an issue got narly everything would inevitably be shutdown by a council official with an overhead projector and a bumper book of numbers.

    until the public at large shows it's interested in what they do - and election turnouts show they don't give an arse - I can't see what their point is outside of the feel good 'see we really care.'

    how many people here have ever been at a comm board meeting? do you even know where they're held?

    so iis it worth the thousands they cost and the mountains of reports they generate to keep them running just so they're there to yell at when the once in a blue moon issue that finally raises some parish pump passion comes about?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 306 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The Commission makes no recommendation on this, because it was not persuaded that the adoption of this voting system would assist in solving Auckland’s problems.

    I think that says it all.

    I had the funny idea that the idea of a democratic system was to represent what people want, not deliver outcomes?

    Just because The Powers That Be consider that Auckland has various issues (like failure to build a shiny enough rugby ground) doesn't mean that the people agree with them..

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

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