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Auckland super city bill goes through against stiff opposition

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Twyford
Phil Twyford

Wellington, June 4 NZPA - The Government has got its legislation through Parliament to set up Auckland's new super city council but it was a far from unanimous vote and most parties opposed the bill.

The vote was 63-56, with National and ACT in favour and Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party and the Progressive Party against.

"This is every bit as bad as people feared and suspected," Labour's Auckland issues spokesman Phil Twyford said during yesterday's third reading debate.

"The Government has insisted on going ahead with its corporatisation agenda which will consign three-quarters of the city's assets and operations to the control of hand-picked appointees."

Mr Twyford said accountability and control of civic life in the city had been transferred from the public into boardrooms.

"Aucklanders made it very clear they didn't want a bar of that," he said.

The Maori Party's Hone Harawira lashed the Government for refusing to have dedicated Maori seats on the council.

"We are disappointed Mr Hide can force the Government to bend to his will by threatening to walk out on the coalition if he doesn't get his way," said Mr Harawira, referring to the problem the Government had with its support partner over the Maori seats.

Mr Harawira said his party refused to support suggestions of a Maori liaison role within the council, or a Maori Advisory Council.

"Maori don't want to be dancing monkeys at anyone's table," he said.

Mr Hide hailed the passing of the bill.

"Today is the day Auckland ratepayers at long last get to win," he said.

"One council, one mayor, one vision for Auckland by November 1st 2010 -- a single vision under a single leader."

Mr Hide said the Government had dealt with an issue that had been a problem for more than a century.

"Michael Joseph Savage, back in 1919, called for a unification of the region's disparate and ineffective councils," he said.

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