Undemocratic processes: Gagging of Aucklanders must Stop! – Cr Greg Sayers

4 October 2021. New Zealand continues to go through difficult and unprecedented times with the outbreak of the delta variant. I know many of our people in Rodney may be feeling overwhelmed at the moment.

In addition, many families in the Kumeu area have the additional pressure of having had to deal with the aftermath of flooding. 

If you are at all feeling overcome by these events and you need help, advice or reassurance, please contact me directly on my mobile number 021 285 9900.

On a slightly different topic, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention growing concern around the lack of public consultation with Aucklanders regarding major changes impacting Auckland Council and its ratepayers.

Central government is overriding Auckland Council and it’s ratepayers by  not allowing consultation on important matters.

This is undemocratic.

The first is the government’s proposal to radically change Auckland Council’s ownership of its drinking, wastewater and storm water services – called the “Three Waters Reform”

The “Three Waters Reform” proposes amalgamating all of Auckland’s water services with the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils (all of Northland) to create a new regional corporation which will take over all of the water services. 

It is concerning the government is not seeking public consultation with Aucklanders. Auckland Council is being asked if it wishes to “opt in” or “opt-out”. This lacks open and democratic processes, weakening transparency by ultimately circumnavigating the ratepayers who have paid for, and own, all of Aucklands water infrastructure.

Surreptitiously, the government has retained the right to make this amalgamation compulsory, with the ability force the new water corporation on councils regardless of ‘opting in or out’.

It all seems to be all bit of a sham – they can still strip Auckland of its water assets regardless of public sentiment. This looks more and more likely.

The government has also created a rule banning a referendum on this proposal. This lack of engagement with Auckland’s residents and ratepayers is of great concern. Why is central government purposely removing the voice of Auckland’s ratepayers?

Another huge concern is the government’s announcement to force Auckland Council to remove requiring a minimum number of off-street car parks in future residential developments, without any public consultation with residents and ratepayers, by 20 February 2022 from its Unitary Plan.

This includes all townships and suburbs across the entire Auckland region. (ie: Warkworth, Matakana, Kumeu, and Riverhead – not just the CBD).

This is also undemocratic – residents and ratepayers are being removed from having their say. Again this is an intentional action by the government.  

The government’s solution to leave it up to developers to provide off-street parking – essentially means the provision of parking is now market-led by entrepreneurs, not by Council rules which should be there to protect residents and ratepayers ahead of private interests.

Aucklanders already have a glimpse into the future of what will happen to our public streets. Have you seen the width of the roads in new suburbs like Millwater or Milldale north of Auckland?

Imagine those same houses having no off-street parking at all?

Developers make more money from adding another bedroom than providing off-street parking and garaging.

What is happening to our democracy? The hard questions about who will stop this steady erosion must be asked.

New Zealanders deserve not to be gagged on their country’s future and together we must demand the debate.

(Other actions: There is an opportunity to express your opinion about a number of aspects of the proposed Three Waters Reform via an online feedback survey, simply click to it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/STVBZZL (If you have difficulty opening this link, you can copy and paste it directly into your web browser).