Greens: SuperCity Still Flawed


The Greens doesn’t buy the government’s attempt to sooth Aucklanders concerns about the accountability of CCOs like Auckland Transport.

And in its minority report to the Auckland parliamentary committee studying the SuperCity bill, the Greens say the government is setting up to privatise Auckland assets.

Earlier Labour said the government., now making these new council companies “publish a glossy brochure and hold a press conference every three months and calling it ‘accountability’ is an insult to Aucklanders.”

The Greens say the SuperCity Bill has been flawed from the beginning because of the “shoddy process, its undemocratic nature, and, the fact that it sets Auckland’s assets up for privatisation,

“We note that there is some new language in the Bill as reported back that is intended to clarify and confirm that the new Council Controlled Organisations will in fact be accountable to the elected council, but remain unconvinced that there will be adequate oversight of the new substantive CCOs.
We strongly oppose the bulk of Council’s work and assets being put into the hands of appointed rather than elected representatives, given the near certainty that the organisations will claim that commercial imperatives can override the public’s right to know how their assets are being managed.

It is almost inevitable that there will be disputes and contest between CCOs, which is likely to undermine the intended integration of policy and service provision. It is not clear that the proposed new clause requiring CCOs to give effect to the LTCCP and other council plans and strategies could prevent ‘silos’ from forming.

We are not persuaded that the proposal to adopt a requirement that the Transition Authority be directed’ rather than ‘authorised’ to establish new CCOs meets the objections of many submitters who wanted democratically elected local politicians to have control over the establishment of such entities.

Many submitters expressed concern that the directors of the new CCOs would be appointed by the Minister of Local Government rather than by the incoming Council. We support the inclusion of a clause making it explicit that the council may remove any director at any time, and note that the Minister has indicated an intention to leave some vacancies on the board unfilled. We would prefer that this intention were translated into a requirement in the bill that all positions are left open for the Council to determine.

Every other council in New Zealand may decide whether to set up a Crown-owned company, and by whom it will be led and managed, but Auckland is having such organisations imposed on it. We oppose this level of central government interference in local choice and decision making.

The extent to which Auckland’s governance was ‘broken’ has routinely been grossly overstated by proponents of this bill, in an attempt to justify such interference, but this denies the considerable progress the Auckland councils individually and collectively had made in recent years.”

MP David Clendon said he remained unconvinced that the structure of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) will be transparent enough and accountable to the Council.

“Mr Hide has chosen to ignore the many submitters who want democratically-elected local politicians to have control over such entities,” Mr Clendon said.

“Opening the door to the privatisation of Auckland’s assets — especially that of water delivery — is also another choice Mr Hide has made.”





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