Brendon Burns blogs:
Today’s announcement violates that fundamental principle upheld by the Right that there should be no taxation (rates) without representation. It axes a democratically-elected body without any public input for the first time at least in recent history. It forces through this bill under urgency from later this afo with no chance for Cantabrians or anyone else to comment.
So you’d think that when the present government announced plans to sack an elected council and strip 560,000 people of their vote in regional council elections for four years, as a “defender of democracy”, he’d be similarly outraged about it, right?
But Burns is wrong. This is not unprecedented in recent history. From the Q&A:
Rodney District Council in May 2000
Local Government Minister Sandra Lee appointed a Commissioner, Grant Kirby, to replace the elected Council following a Ministerial review. The Government introduced and passed the Local Government (Rodney District Council) Amendment Bill which suspended elections of Councillors and
clarified the role of commissions, through all stages under urgency on 2 May 2000, with the support of the National Party and all parties in Parliament. This intervention was at the Council’s request.
So it happened under the last Government, and to a territorial local authority which has far bigger impact on people’s lives than a regional council. Also done under urgency, and also done at the request of local Councils – but in this case the ten or so territorial authorities.
What is the big difference?
National in Opposition supported Labour, because they put doing the right thing ahead of petty politics. If a Council has not managed a water allocation plan after 18 years, then it is a pretty sure sign than things are wrong and need fixing. Just waving a stick and saying “try to do better” has not worked.Tags: Brendon Burns, Canterbury Regional Council, Local Body Politics, No Right Turn