Douglas & Hubbard on Auckland Council

The Herald reports:

Sir Roger Douglas wants ratepayers to be able to shop around for the best local council, saying that being able to defect to one nearby even if they do not live there will invoke the spirit of competition.

Great idea.

Sir Roger told a parliamentary select committee considering legislation setting up Auckland’s Super City that there should be a flexible community council structure with ratepayers able to decide its size and even set up their own councils.

Groups of ratepayers who lived next to another community council should also be able to opt out and join another council.

“The capacity to change council will create competition for ratepayers, which is likely to see value for money being delivered by local government,” Sir Roger said.

Those who place a premium on low rates can get a Council that does that, while those who like enhanced community facilities can also get what they want.

Former Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard told the committee he strongly supported the proposed powers for the Super Mayor after his experience of being hamstrung by the “power-hungry” Deputy Mayor Bruce Hucker.

Mr Hubbard said he was elected on a vision, but then obstructed in implementing it by Dr Hucker who had a voting bloc on the council. For this reason, the Super Mayor must be given the power to hire and fire the deputy.

I agree with Dick Hubbard. The Mayor needs a team he or she can work with. The Council still gets a veto over policy and spending decisions, but an effective leadership team is a good thing.

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