Proposals from Hamilton and Christchurch City Councils to create supercities like Auckland would increase costs for ratepayers, undermine local control and reduce democratic accountability, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union says
The Union is also calling on the Government to commission an independent review of the Auckland supercity that amalgamated the former Auckland Regional Council and seven district and city councils.
The proponents of amalgamation claim that that it will reduce overheads and lead to efficiency gains, but this is not borne out in the evidence. A report by the Infrastructure Commission last year, for example, found no evidence that larger councils are more efficient.
Taxpayers’ Union Local Government spokesman Josh Van Veen says Aucklanders know from bitter experience that the roads are worse, rates are higher, and their public transport system is even less co-ordinated than it was under the old regional and district council model.
“At the same time, decision-making is further and further removed from local communities. Large Council-Controlled Organisations spend billions of dollars in ratepayer money but are kept at arms-length from democratic accountability,” he says.
“Recent centralisations of polytechnics and health have also been a complete mess. Rather than generate economies of scale, they have simple created additional layers of bureaucracy on top of what was there before. Creating more supercities is completely the wrong approach.
“It is time for the Department of Internal Affairs to do what it promised 12 years ago and give the public an honest appraisal of Auckland Council.”