Friday, May 22, 2009

Rodney wants out

The Rodney District Council has decided that it wants no part of its namesake's dictatorial Auckland Supercity, and instead wants to become a unitary authority:

The council, which represents about 90,000 people, says it wants to have the functions of both a district and regional council instead.

The council has voted 8-3 to investigate that option and will consider making that proposal to a select committee hearing submissions on the super-city.

Here's a better plan: they could ask the people of their district instead, by holding a referendum under the Local Electoral Act. Do they want to be run from Auckland or not? Local government belongs to the people, and so they should get to decide.

The problem with this plan is that a referendum costs money, and so the Auckland dictatorship could veto it. But just think of the message that would send: an unelected gang of rich businessmen deciding that the people of Rodney - and by implication of Auckland - can't have their say on the shape of their local government.

(I should note that making a proper submission to the select committee will probably cost the Council a fair amount of money as well, and so is probably also subject to a veto by the dictatorship. Which would be an even worse message - not only would the people of Rodney be denied a direct vote on the matter; they wouldn't even be able to collectively voice their opinion to Parliament...)