Simon Bridges has slammed today’s decision to extend the stay of Tauranga City Council’s commissioners for a further two-and-a-half years, calling the government’s decision “plain wrong”.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed the extension earlier on Friday, with local elections now on hold until July 2024 and a continuation of the commission she installed last year.
Bridges, the National MP for Tauranga, has cited “power, convenience and control” as the reasons behind Mahuta’s decision, and questioned a lack of achievement since the four-person commission was put in place by Labour in February 2021.
“Today’s decision by Nanaia Mahuta is plain wrong,” says Bridges. …
Another figure deeply opposed to the move is former mayor of Tauranga Greg Brownless, who held office in the Bay of Plenty city from 2016 to 2019.
Brownless has labelled the news the “death of democracy for Tauranga,” and says the city is now being run by what is “effectively a dictatorship”.
“I don’t use the word dictatorship lightly given the severity of what’s going on in the world, but this is effectively what is happening in Tauranga,” he says.
“The community’s right to have a say in their city has been removed.
“I am outraged. I would have never imagined this in my lifetime or in all my days I’ve lived in Tauranga, the city which I love.”
The decision to install Commissioners in the first place was dubious. This was not like ECan a decade ago which was failing to meet statutory requirements and all ten local Councils had lost confidence in it. The reason the Tauranga Council was sacked was merely because there was a lot of infighting between the Mayor and some factions.
If that is the basis for sacking a Council, then why has Wellington City Council not been sacked, and why has Invercargill City Council been allowed to carry on with a Mayor who is cognitively unable to chair the Council.
But even if you accept the TCC needed to be replaced by Commissioners because of the infighting, then you’ve achieved that. But to now allow Tauranga residents to have any say on massive rates increased being foisted on them by the Commissioners is wrong.