No policy Goff wants referendum on Auckland

Labour still has no policy on what it wants for Auckland. Despite setting up the Royal Commission, they are now al over the place in terms of any coherent vision for the future.

Can anyone tell me their position on Maori seats?

Can anyone tell me their position on local Councils vs community boards?  They initially said they did not support local Councils as they were too large, but then complained when the Government listened and got rid of them.

Can anyone tell me whether or not they supported the unchanged recommendations of the Royal Commission?

No you can’t, as they have no policy apart from wanting no at large seats, as that will make it easier for them to gain power over the city.

But now in a fit of stupidity, Goff is calling for a referendum on the changes. Before I detail how unworkable this is, let’s hear what the Royal Commission itself said:

31.4 Nor does the Commission consider that a reorganisation proposal would be an appropriate mechanism for implementing the proposed reforms, despite the superficial attraction of using an existing statutory mechanism.1 The reorganisation process requires the review of any reorganisation proposal by the Local Government Commission, followed by consultation with stakeholders, the notification of a draft proposal, and public submissions. It also requires a poll of electors which, by simple majority, determines whether or not the proposal will proceed. Plainly, the complex and wide-ranging recommendations in this Report are not suited to this process;

So the Royal Commission itself said a referendum is only superficially attractive and is plainly unsuited to complex and wide-ranging recommendations.

The Royal Commission was of course right on this point. Referendums are suitable for simple singular propositions, such as changing the term of Parliament from three to four years.

The reform proposals have dozens of elements to them – one Council, an executive Mayor, local boards, composition of Council, powers of Council, powers of Board, ward boundaries, etc etc etc. What would people be voting on?

And is Goff really saying that he wants it to be a choice between doing nothing and the Government’s proposals? That there should be a poll, and if it fails then the status quo endures and all the work of the Royal Commission is wasted? Because a referendum is not something that allows you to modify a proposal, like a select committee process. It is a stop or go process.You don’t like the bathwater and indeed the baby goes out the window also.

Also consider the further practicalities of a referendum? What do you do if voters in six Councils vote yes, and one Council votes no? Do you then have a new Auckland Council with a big hole in the middle of it? Do you give veto power to the voters of the smallest Council that represents around 2% of the Region?

And let us remember the hypocrisy. Goff attacks the Government for changing some of the recommendations of the Royal Commission, yet himself now demands the Government ignore one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission – that the reform is far too complex for a referendum.

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