Friday, July 10, 2009

Not theirs to sell


Labour's Phil Twyford has launched a new campaign in support of his Local Government (Protection of Auckland Assets) Amendment Bill: Not Yours To Sell. From the campaign's opening blog:

No one trusts Rodney Hide and his cronies to keep Auckland community assets in public hands so my member’s bill will put any decision to sell community assets firmly into the hands of Aucklanders. The bill requires the sale or privatisation of any assets to be first put to a public referendum.


I think one of the big anxieties underlying the super city debate is the fear that the super city is just the prelude to corporatisation of local government, and privatisation of our assets: the ports, the water, and our transport infrastructure, not to mention libraries, parks, halls and other assets. These fears have been fueled by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide’s proposed reforms of the Local Government Act which seek to reduce council activities to core services. And by ACT’s stated policy to force Councils to sell off their commercial enterprises. Bear in mind also that it is only a decade or so since the right wing were trying to hock off the ports.

Given the ideological agenda of the right and their past behaviour when in power, those fears are fully justified. Twyford's bill would put them to bed, by requiring that any significant asset sale be approved by the relevant local authority. And that's a principle which shouldn't just apply in Auckland - but across the whole country.

If you'd like to support the campaign, sign up and take action.