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National ignores past mistakes

An Auckland Council stoush over the unitary authority decision won’t help the government and proves National ignores past mistakes with planned law reforms, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.

The Local Government Commission announced yesterday that all of the Auckland Council area is affected by an application to form a North Rodney unitary authority.

“Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-liga is disingenuous when he tries to spin the North Rodney decision as a reason to give further powers to the unelected Commission.

“When the Government last ‘reformed’ local government laws in 2012, they made it easier to initiate reorganisations and gave the Commission greater powers to deal with them.

“National promised us this would lead to better, more efficient local government.

“They let us down. Since then, the Commission has presided over drawn-out, costly and failed reorganisation proposals in Northland, Wellington, and my own home of Hawke’s Bay.

“In the case of Hawke’s Bay, three out of four affected councils were against the proposal, the Commission’s own Colmar Brunton survey showed 57 percent against it, yet it still went ahead with the poll – only to have the proposal shot down by voters.

“Giving increased powers to an unelected body with a bad track-record, which isn’t subject to the Official Information Act, does nothing to enhance local democracy.

“Local communities should be drivers of change and determining their own futures,” says Meka Whaitiri.