The Auckland Agenda adds $28b to NZ corruption

Much of the council agenda is conducted in secret.

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by Avaiki Nius Agency
editor Jason Brown

We need more time.

Residents in Auckland, New Zealand, the world's largest Pacific Islands city, have less than 24 hours to make their views known on the final draft of a plan aimed at the next 30 years.

Like almost every other aspect of the "super-city", the plan has been hatched, launched and pushed through so-called consultation phases at highly questionable pace. Especially when the same time period saw the hosting of a Rugby World Cup, the world’s third largest sporting event in terms of television audience.

In a stadium of 4 million, 1.4 million Auckland residents have had just over 40 days to consider the 258 page “Draft Auckland Plan”, launched on 20 September 2011, an incredibly short space of time for a plan covering the next 11,000 days.

This plan is just 30 pages longer than the original discussion document, Auckland Unleashed, last modified on 14th April 2011.

Public hearings will be held over the next month, with the draft finalised in December, then adopted in February 2012.

Less than a year’s consultation for a plan covering three decades.

This is deeply unfair on a city which has seen an anything-goes National Party government steamroll over a Royal Commission of Inquiry into their future, and then impose its own highly suspect agenda with regards to how $28 billion in ratepayer assets are handled.

Former coalition partner and leader of the economically fascist ACT Party, Rodney Hide, also dismissed calls for a referendum on the future of Auckland. Now gone, along with an MP who stole the identity of dead baby to gain a false passport and has just been suspended for 12 months as a lawyer, the Hide legacy appears to be locked in place.

Molly-coddled by corporate media, riding high in the polls, the John Key government has brushed off criticism from all corners of a huge urban and rural sprawl with what is, for some, an infuriatingly smug smile, closer to a smirk.

Unfair, and deeply undemocratic.

Secrecy and confidentiality have made an unwelcome return to both state and regional decision making processes, raising questions of proper due process.

With some 3,439 written and 550 oral submissions to the original commission of inquiry, it might have been expected that residents would throw their hands up and abandon what is obviously a deeply contemptuous approach to consultation.

On the contrary.

Some 8,500 responses were written in answer to the Auckland Unleashed discussion document, in a space of just four months. With just a 30 page difference between the council discussion document and draft plan, it remains to be seen how many of those recommendations will make it past the consultation stage.

Far from guaranteeing a super city, now or 30 years hence, the council rush job represents yet another land grab from ratepayers, and, long suffering Maori.

This is not ‘just’ about citizen and indigenous rights, however.

As bad, if not worse, the entire Super City process is yet another example calling into question the quality and future of the Pakeha justice and governance systems.  

What does all this mean for Maori, Polynesian and other Pacific Islanders in Auckland, and New Zealand ?

Probably more of the same.

Economic exploitation, marginalisation and negligence - just like a majority of Pakeha citizens who seem unable to see past a fog of media misrepresentation, or the face of a man once known as the “smiling assassin”.

With the world cup only just at an end, and a general election just ahead, it seems obvious to everyone but elected representatives that the world’s biggest Pacific city needs more time to decide its own future.

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