Matthew Hooton has an excellent column in NBR (as he unlike me, remembered it was being published today not tomorrow). His description of the problems with the status quo in Auckland is so good, I have repeated an extract here:
Auckland has always been ripped off by the rest of New Zealand, paying far more tax to Wellington than it has ever received back, even including benefits to South Auckland.
The city’s infrastructure has never been a priority. Reefton had electric street lighting before Auckland; the first telephone call was made from Roxburgh; Auckland had to wait for STD to first be rolled out in parts of National’s provincial heartland; and its roading network was never completed because of political priorities in marginal electorates.
Today, the city’s roads remain shambolic; electricity supply is not guaranteed; cellphone calls can’t be maintained driving from Queen St to the airport; public transport is more primitive than in Queen Victoria’s London; Cath Tizard’s opera house stands at the wrong end of town; Auckland couldn’t competently respond to Trevor Mallard’s offer of a free rugby stadium; it idiotically runs a major port at the foot of its CBD, separating the city from the sea and with no possibility of ever achieving streamlined transport links to the country’s manufacturing base; and its kids were recently at risk of losing their elephants because politicians couldn’t agree about funding for the zoo.
If Auckland were some Pacific island, we’d call it a failed state.
And this is the status quo that Labour now has decided it wants to protect?
Labour have been quick to say what they don’t like, but are being very careful not to offer any constructive solution of their own. Would they have Maori seats on the Auckland Council? Depends which Labour MP you listen to according to John Carter who said in the House that a senior Labour MP was reported ruling out Maori seats as recommended by the Royal Commission.Tags: Auckland, Matthew Hooton, NBR