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Labour's Auckland Assets Bill Defeated In Parliament

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Twyford
Phil Twyford

Wellington, Aug 19 NZPA - A Labour Party bill that would have forced a referendum before any of Auckland's assets could be sold was defeated on its first reading in Parliament tonight.

The vote was 64-58 after Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said Phil Twyford's member's bill was "a scaremongering stunt".

Mr Twyford said Auckland's new local government structure was "a Trojan horse for privatisation" and people were afraid of the Government's real plans for assets worth $28 billion.

"They are uneasy about putting power into the hands of a few, and deeply uneasy about local democracy being constrained while powerful forces at the top are conspiring to sell off Auckland's assets," he said.

"On one side is National and ACT and their big business mates, and on the other side is the bulk of New Zealanders who believe the the public ownership of assets can deliver services everybody can enjoy."

Mr Hide, who is in charge of implementing the new local government structure, said Mr Twyford seemed to be unaware of safeguards that already existed.

"Council decisions are subject to judicial review in the High Court," he said.

"That's an amazing degree of protection. Those provisions are in the Local Government Act."

Mr Hide said the arrangements were exactly the same as they were under the previous Labour government.

Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party and the Progressive Party supported the bill.

National, ACT and United Future voted against it.

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