24 July, 2010

Toeing the "party line" in local politics

"Citizens & Ratepayers and the Labour coalition parties say they will have candidates standing for all positions in the Super City. How disappointing"

So says Hugh Chapman of Kohimarama in the Herald Readers' Forum on 24th July.

He goes on to say "they just do not get the idea behind the Super City. Local boards are to enlist their residents' ideas and suggestions. If they go back to "party" people and they disagree with the backroom policy to which they have signed on, the idea will be ignored."

"Every person on the local board should be a listener. There should be no party affiliated people even standing, let alone voted for on local boards."

Thanks for that Hugh - we certainly don't need "parties" on local boards that have some sort of whip to ensure all the members vote the same way.

We need clear thinking independent people. People of a similar perspective may well band together to aid their election prospects - but they need to be independent thinkers after that.

18 July, 2010

What does representation on the new Auckland Council mean to us?

I guess we all have the general picture by now. The new local authority structure consists of a single overall mayor (who we all get to elect) and then 20 councillors who will sit in Auckland and govern the city on our behalf. In Rodney we get to elect just one of these councillors.
More locally however we get a "local board" which we elect in separate subdivisions, much along the lines of the old Rodney wards.

So what do these people do on our behalf?
Let's make sure we understand the role of the new ward councillor. He or she is elected by us, however they must act in the interests of the whole city - not just their own ward. While we will be able to ensure they understand the needs of our rural community, the ward councillor is bound to look at the wider ramifications for Auckland and vote accordingly. This may not always be to our total benefit.

Have we lost our local representation?
Well no, in fact we have probably got better opportunities for pursuing our cause than we had before. Under the old scheme our elected councillors were not only there to assist us to get what we wanted, they were also there to charge us for it - they set the rates and all the other regulatory rules and conditions that we sometimes have trouble with.
Now, the new Auckland Council will have all these regulatory responsibilities - our local board will be able to advocate strongly for us without having to defend themselves over rates and regulations.

Our new local board, with members working for you in your area will be taking your issues to the meeting room and determining the strategy for lobbying the Auckland Council. What we need are clear strategic thinkers who can take issues and rationally progress them through the corridors of power.

We need to elect effective lobbyists to our local board.