28 May 2010
By Penny Bright of the Water Pressure Group
“Presenting the much-vaunted tweakings of the Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill as some sort of ‘victory’ for ‘people power’ actually amount to ‘diddley-squat'”, says Water Pressure Media Spokesperson Penny Bright.
“Given the painfully obvious – that Mayors and Councillors are NOT the ‘public” – the only tiny change that the public majority arguably may benefit from – is the new provision for CCO meetings to be open to the public.
So – the public can go along and ‘observe’ how we are being ripped off under the corporate CCO model?
It is not clear how ‘observing’ fits into the concept of ‘participatory’ democracy.
Are ALL matters going to be open to the public – or are great chunks of the agenda going to be placed under ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ from which the public will be excluded?
Will members of the public be granted ‘speaking rights’ at these CCO meetings?
Even if members of the public ARE ‘permitted’ speaking rights – will that right be upheld in practice?
(FYI – for the last 3 consecutive Auckland City Council meetings – Mayor John Banks has (unlawfully) denied me speaking rights, and had me forcibly removed by security guards.
DEMOCRACY AND THE CCO MODEL: THE FACTS:
1) The public majority of the Auckland region have still never had our lawful right to a binding poll on whether or not we wanted our existing Councils abolished and replaced with the one ‘Auckland Council’, with unelected CCOs proposed to to run 75% of council functions.
(See the Local Government Act 2002 s 24 Reorganisation Proposal’ Schedule 3, s49 ‘Polls must be held”.)
2) The public majority of the Auckland region have never had any vote or final ‘say’ on whether or not we want Auckland infrastructure /assets under the corporate CCO model.
3) The public majority of the Auckland region have no say in the ‘selection’ of the unelected Chairs/Deputy Chairs and Directors of the CCOs.
4) The public majority of the Auckland region have no say in the formulation of the ‘Statements of Intent’ which govern the relationship between the proposed Auckland Council and the CCOs.
This is on top of the rather pivotal fact that there has never been a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis of the CCO model, which confirms the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of this model for the public majority, carried out by:
The Royal Commission on Auckland Regional Governance.
The Office of the Auditor-General. (OAG)
The Department of Internal Affairs. (DIA)
The Auckland Transition Agency. (ATA)
Any of the 8 Councils in the Auckland region.
The NZ Treasury.
5) Beware! The corporate agenda is first CCOs then PPPs!
Remember the ‘commercialise, corporatise -privatise’ retrogression under ‘Rogernomics Mark 1’?
How billion$ of public assets held at central government level were transformed into private sector companies?
CCO (Council Controlled Organisation) is the local government equivalent of SOE (State Owned Enterprise).
But this time – the assets aren’t being set up for SALE (lock stock and barrel), but for long-term LEASE under PPPs (Public Private Partnerships).
Where is the income stream going?
Who is benefitting?
‘Super City u-turn: People power wins?’
But when the growing numbers of Aucklanders who object to becoming a giant ‘ca$h cow’ – ”all pay – no say, start taking non-violent direct financial action to uphold the fundamental principles:
“The will of the people is the basis of the authority of government’
and “No taxation without representation!’
by disputing and witholding rates payments – then this New Zealand will see some really effective ‘PEOPLE POWER’.
“WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW – RESISTANCE BECOMES DUTY!”
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised Public Watchdog on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.