Auckland City Politics

The local government politics of Auckland City is getting interesting, with John Banks announcing he wants his old job as Auckland mayor back, and according to an unscientific NZ Herald Poll, might get it back. This is good news, as the current mayor Dick Hubbard has done a bad job, including the council spending large amounts of ratepayers money on overseas trips for itself and taxi trips, having big budget blowouts, and much more wastefull spending, as well as their attempt to ban billboards, a failed coup against the deputy mayor, massive 33% rate increases, together with 19% increase in water rates, and suggesting people should borrow money to pay for these rate increases. To be fair to Hubbard much of Auckland’s infrastructure had been neglected for a long time, but it must be pretty bad to justify the massive rate increases. According to the New Zealand Herald, Labour is desperate to keep Banks out, and may help Hubbard, due to fears it could add to a sense of inevitability about Labour loosing next year. This makes Bank’s lead in polls even better news. Any Labour intervention should be opposed on the grounds of preserving the independence of local government, and the idea that central government should ignore whose behind central government and leave local government decisions to ratepayers. If Labour does intervene, I hope everyone in Auckland knows about it so Labour can be linked to Hubbard’s unpopular policies, and also as the intervention will not change the big rate increases that have occurred on Hubbard’s watch, probably won’t change the final election result.

Another issue facing Auckland is the idea of amalgamation, or creating a “supercity”. It can have some benefits in getting all Auckland to work together and streamlining bureaucracy, but can also have some costs. I tend to lean towards the supercity side, but it will need to be supported by a rigorous cost-benefit analysis first.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Auckland, Local Government

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