Human Rights Commission calls Super City consulation a mockery

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Human Rights Commission has come out with a scathing critique of the current Super city consultation calling it a mockery.

The Commission has said that the short time frame of nine weeks (including the Christmas-New Year holiday break) for submissions to the third Auckland governance bill making a mockery of democracy.

The Commission has consistently urged there be at least 12 weeks for people to participate in something as important as Aucklands local government restructure. This allows communities to hold meetings and work out their positions as well as write submissions, says EEO Commissioner Judy McGregor appearing before the Auckland Governance Legislation Committee.

The Commission has consistently maintained that the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Aucklands Governance submissions process is not a proxy for measured consultation on legislation that is vastly different in intent, form and structure from what was proposed.

Aucklanders were told throughout the first and second bills that specific details that concerned them would be addressed in the third bill. Now the third bill is on the table, they have had scant time to comment.

The lack of transparency in appointments of directors of CCOs (council-controlled organisations) is a major concern as the CCOs will manage vital services, including transport, water provision, land and economic development in the new super city.

Importantly the HRC argues that the transfer of power to un-elected ministerial appointees is undemocratic and should concern all Aucklanders and all New Zealanders and goes on to urge a transparent process, which includes public advertising for any external, non-council appointments.

In addition, the Commission has made the following recommendations:

  • clarification that rate payer electors can not vote more than once in an election
  • greater legislative role clarity for local boards
  • specific seats for M?ori as the preferred option, a strengthened role for the Board as the default position
  • making Pacific and ethnic advisory panels permanent
  • greater protection around Watercare to prevent privatisation
  • lowering the cap on mayoral campaign spending to ensure greater potential range and diversity of candidates.

Maori wishing for represenation have been told that they will instead be provided with an Advisory Board which is a far cry from what iwi such as Ngati Whatua have fought for. We find it hard to believe that any such board will be given the teeth it needs to get anything done. MP Dr Pita Sharples said that failing that the only way to get Maori represntation on the coucil will be for a sympathetic Mayor to make the call.

So whanau, there is a lot on the line, make sure you’re involved in local politics so you can make your voices be heard.

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