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Rodney's last stand

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Darien Fenton
Darien Fenton

Wellington, July 21 NZPA - Rodney District Council's last ditch bid to avoid being swallowed up by Auckland has failed.

A bill that would have protected it as a unitary authority and taken it out of the new boundary for Auckland's super city council was defeated 64-58 in Parliament tonight.

The bill was drafted by the council and promoted by Labour MP Darien Fenton.

"The whole saga of Auckland's governance has been a confused jumble and the Government has severely mishandled the decision-making around Rodney's inclusion in the super city," she said during the first reading debate on the bill.

"Rodney's people have been tricked and sold out -- this is the only option left open to them."

Rodney residents had behaved honestly and in good faith throughout all the negotiations around the creation of the new Auckland council and its boundaries, she said.

"This bill reflects what the people want, in the interests of democracy it should be given a fair hearing."

National's Tau Henare said the bill was "full of rubbish" and had been put together by people who were trying to protect jobs they were going to lose in the October local body elections.

"They're protecting their salaries -- creating little fiefdoms isn't democracy," he said.

Another National MP, Cam Calder, said the bill didn't have unanimous support in Rodney, and ACT's David Garrett said the same thing.

"I live in Rodney," Mr Garrett said.

"The best you can say is that the people are divided over this."

Labour MP Phil Twyford said Parliament was a court of last resort and the bill was Rodney's last chance.

"The entire Auckland local government process has been a fiasco," he said.

"The people of Rodney don't want a bar of the super city -- and those feelings exist right through the Auckland region."

National, ACT and United future voted against the bill. Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party and the Progressive Party supported it.

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