Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Aucklanders deserve a referendum

A couple of weeks ago, I floated the idea of a referendum on the SuperCity. Now The Standard has taken up the cry, calling for Aucklanders to be given a vote on the massive changes proposed to their local government:

[C]ouncils have referenda on whether to put fluoride in the water. How can we not have a referendum on creating a supercity? How dare the Government trample over our right to decide?

It would be simple for the Government to write the referendum into the legislation. There is no reason not to do it. If they won’t it’s because they don’t give a damn about democracy.

It’s not Key’s city. It’s not Hide’s city.

It’s all Aucklanders’ city. All Aucklanders should get to decide.

The Standard is right. Government belongs to the people. Significant changes to its structure should be decided by the people. In 1992 and 1993 we all got to vote on changes to our electoral system. The changes proposed to Auckland's local government, to its powers and duties and the manner and level at which citizens are represented, are at least as significant on a local scale. Aucklanders must be allowed to vote on this. Anything less is an abrogation of our democratic principles.