by David Thornton
Despite Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s protestations to the contrary, his Wellington Region Review Panel’s proposals for a single Greater Wellington Council are a rewrite of the original Royal Commission proposal for the Auckland SuperCity.
The ultimate outcome from these proposals would put the real power in the hands of just 11 people – the Lord Mayor and 10 councillors.
This group would collect all the rates for the region, and decide how those rates are spent.
Local ratepayers would have no influence on either the level of rates or their expenditure.
Auckland SuperCity all over again.
While proposed Local Area Councils in the Wellington Region would be given powers to manage local services, the decision on the levels of funding, from rates, would be made by the SuperCouncil.
And the introduction of an Auckland-style executive ‘Lord’ Mayor will bring the same opportunity used by Mayor Len Brown to ‘buy’ support and loyalty from individual councillors with offers of chairmanship of council committees.
Wellington ratepayers should look carefully at the reality of Auckland’s SuperCity where Local Boards have no power to control the level of rates at a purely local level.
Beware also of electing a Lord Mayor with big-spending ideas and little idea of how to fund those ideas – such as Len Brown’s $3 billion Central Rail Link.
David Thornton is an Aucklander who heads the “No More Rates” organisation