Bill 3 – The greens

The Greens, as has been commented in the NZ Herald seem to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of analysing the effect of the various bills on local democracy.   They have provided a guide to making a submission at

http://www.greens.org.nz/actionalerts/submission-guide-local-government-auckland-law-reform-bill

Here are their key points:

The Bill undermines democratic control of local Government in Auckland by transferring power and decision-making in many areas to unelected Ministerial appointees.  It also paves the way for the privatisation of assets that will be transferred to the Auckland Council.

Measures contained in the Bill include:

  • The Minister of Local Government, rather than democratically elected local politicians, will decide what Council Controlled Organisations to establish and appoint their initial directors.
  • The new Council Controlled Organisation “Auckland Transport” will have between 6 and 8 voting directors, but only 2 of them can be elected members of the Auckland Council.  This transfers effective control of transport-related powers and functions from elected councillors to unelected Ministerial appointees.
  • Elected councillors will be prohibited from being directors of all other Council Controlled Organisations, again transferring effective control of vast areas of Auckland’s governance from elected councillors to unelected Ministerial appointees.
  • Watercare Services Limited’s water pricing will not be subject to Auckland Council policy or direction from mid-2015, and the Auckland Council will be permitted to privatise it from that date.
  • The Auckland Council will be permitted to sell strategic assets from mid-2012, meaning that privatisation plans can be completed before voters get a chance to have a say on them at the 2013
    local elections.
  • A tokenistic and toothless board will be appointed to advise the Auckland Council on issues of significance for mana whenua and Maori within Auckland.  The Auckland Council will have no obligation to follow its advice.

Do you have a vote?

I live in rental accommodation.  That means I am not a rate payer and that can mean that in some peoples eyes I don’t get a say in local democracy.  For example when the letters over whether people wanted wheelie bins or bags were sent out they went to the house owners rather than tenants.  As a significant number of houses on the island are second homes or rentals that meant that many of those letters were being sent to Auckland, other parts of  NZ and even to other parts of the world.  How clued in do you think those owner/ non occupiers might be?

Anyway I was a bit concerned that the same would be happening when it comes to the super city and the new local board so I asked our Councillor Denise Roche for some further information.  Here is her reply.

Who can vote?

From what I’ve read the third bill is pretty much the same as it has been under the Local Government Act and what happened last elections. (There might be a change about long term commercial renters – but I’m still finding out about that.)

So what happens is:

All people on the electoral role can vote whether they are renters or landowners.  You do get to vote for your councillor and your local board. – so long as you have remembered to register on the electoral roll.

[ you can check whether you are registered at https://secure.elections.org.nz/app/enrol/ ed]

The issue gets confusing where voters own more than one property in the area or in another area in the Local Authority area.

So scenario A is where Ms X owns two properties on Waiheke and lives on Waiheke: She gets ONE vote for councillor and also for the Local Board for Waiheke.

Scenario B is where Mr Y owns a property on Waiheke and one on the North Shore and his electoral roll address is the North Shore. Mr X gets to vote for the North Shore councillor and the North shore local board AND the Waiheke Local Board. Mr X’s tenant on Waiheke (as long as he’s on the electoral roll) gets to vote for the Waiheke ward councillor and the Waiheke Local Board as well.

Scenario C is where Mrs Z owns three properties – one on Waiheke, one in Papakura and one in Massey. She lives on Waiheke. – The same rule applies: she gets to ONE vote for councillor but can vote for all the Local Boards in the area where she owns properties.

So yes, in a nutshell – it is more than one vote one person for the election of Local Boards.

Clear as mud?

Kind regards. Denise

OneWaiheke 2010

Happy New Year to all Waihekians and other readers.

What does 2010 have in store for this website and the island?

The big issue is going to be the super city of course.  Bill three has been released and we’ll give you a run down on that next.  In Jan there will be various meetings about the bill and making yet another round of submissions in time for the close on the 12th February.

After that we will be starting to think about the elections themselves.  We will be electing a councillor and new local board with hopefully increased powers.  We need everyone on the island to turn out to vote.  We need the best possible candidates of all political viewpoints to choose from. We want what is best for the Island, not just for this year but for the next 50.

OneWaiheke is just one simple web site.  Its role is to provide information on the issues, encourage discussion, debate and engagement.

OneWaiheke is a Pro-Democracy movement, fighting against the centralisation of power, and its movement into unelected, unrepresentative organisations.  Not because such organisations are less efficient, but because they cannot put our interests and those of our children and grandchildren first.

Not just the supercity

There will be other issues as well – I need people interested in writing about these subjects to join me as content creators on the site.  comment here if you are interested in helping out or representing one of the subject areas.

Waste

2009 saw the Waiheke does it better campaign fighting against the take over of the islands waste management contract.  This year we expect to reflect the damage done by that takeover in rising waste management costs to the island, reduced recycling, new road damage from excessive trucking and the nuisance of wheelie bins.

The Waste Resource Trust has in the mean time moved on to new initiatives in the field of energy conservation and generation.  The same educational process and mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle, translates well into energy as we seek to reduce our usage, replace inefficient appliances and recycle sun and wind into energy.

Transport

Islanders are still keeping a close watch on the Fullers Ferries and their prices with the inevitable rumours of competing services,  complaints about price rigging and requests for fair subsidies for locals.  What will the new cross ticketing system in Auckland bring?

Meanwhile will 2010 be the year of the electric bicycle?  With a seller on the island, and falling prices for imported bikes, do we now have a way to move a substantial new group of people onto two wheels?  Will this in turn trigger more new initiatives for cyclists.  – cycle lanes, parking etc.

Food

The island now has at least 4 community gardens, and did I see Swiss chard growing in the flower beds in front of the council offices last year?  The Island’s first CSA – Community supported agriculture,  peoples farm started planting in 2009 and last week we saw the first deliveries of locally grown vegetables to subscribers.  see http://waihekecsa.org.nz/ for details.

We also saw the creation of a local food delivery company Food Direct as well as the Sunday Farmers Market and the growth of the Ooooby network.

Look out for the Great Waiheke Plum Drive, coming up next week. (7th Jan)

Environment

The Gulf News letters page was spammed just before Christmas by climate change deniers. see this great visualisation from Information is Beautiful called climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus for a really good independent overview of the state of the debate.

Last year we saw a growing debates over aerial poison drops, cellphone towers,  and the potential damage from the development of a marina at Matiatia.  Protecting the environment of Waiheke and the Gulf islands is and will always be a battle against short term interests.   That is why I hope Waiheke can develop a philosophy of long term deep sustainability.  That’s a 100 year viewpoint folks.

If you are involved in these debates please consider writing explanatory overview postings for this site in order to inform the island.

So that’s our goal.  We are not a news site – although there will be news and events, or an opinion site – although feel free to express opinions, but hopefully a portal for accurate information about what matters to the islanders.

Happy New Year

Andrew Watkins

Palm Beach.