Tuesday, March 09, 2010

No democracy in the supercity

The Herald finally seems to have woken up to the total lack of democracy in National's Auckland "supercity", with several articles over the past two days highlighting the lack of control over core council functions. Despite retaining the democratic forms, the legislated distribution of power and responsibility will mean that Aucklanders are effectively locked out of the running of their own city. All the most important decisions on transport, planning, even parks, will be made by corporatised "Council Controlled Organizations". But despite the name, these organisations will not in fact be controlled by the council. Instead they'll be controlled by Wellington, through unelected managers with only the most tenuous requirements to report to Aucklanders. Auckland's mayor and council will effectively be powerless. Democracy will be reduced to a charade, a puppet-show to distract people while the real decisions are made elsewhere without real accountability.

This is the sort of "democracy" we have for DHBs: a bad joke. And Aucklanders deserve better. They deserve a real council, with real powers, so it can run the city for them, not Rodney Hide.