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Monday, 24 November 2008

COUNCILLOR BHATNAGAR YOU ARE DEAD WRONG

Once again Auckland City Councillor Aaron Bhatnagar has in his blog waxed on about the application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) to shift the Hauraki Gulf Islands from the jurisdiction of Auckland City Council to that of Thames-Coromandel District Council. His posting has also been picked up by Kiwiblog.

This time pretty well everything he says is wrong in fact, wrong in law, or both.

He says, for example, a lot about a poll. In an application to change the boundary there is no poll, according to Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002, the summary of it prepared by the LGC, and the LGC itself, so everything he says about that is rubbish.

He also misses the legal nature of these applications. For example, it is not an application by one person, me, as he says, it is an application by 10% of registered affected electors. The actual number that sign the application is immaterial, the counting stops a bit past 10%, because it is all about satisfying the law. Even if everyone signed it the counting would still say 10% officially, because that is all the law is interested in.

The ruling by the LGC is also all done on the law, which is there for all to read in Schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002.

He also misses the point of these applications. It is all about the key phrase in the Act: 'good local government.' And there is no doubt on a detailed, exhaustive comparative analysis of the two councils that Thames-Coromandel is a much better council than Auckland, particular for communities of our type.

Those who wax on about 'Auckland's' money have to get it into their heads that the world does not owe the islands a living. The isthmus certainly does not owe us a living, nor should it be coerced, without a word of consultation, at the point of the rates-notices gun into handing over millions that should be spent where they live not where we live.

This application is about communities, not about money. It is about how well they are governed. Everyone on earth deserves good local government. In New Zealand we have that right enshrined in law, and the process set up to get it elsewhere if we are not getting it where we are.

But if you cannot run communities with a combined population of 8628 on the present rates/charges revenue of $20 million you are mad, sad, or bad. Or all three.

The abysmal ignorance of the facts and the law shown in Councillor Bhatnagar's blog illustrates well the rubbishy governance that the islands have had to put up with for nineteen years. Please, Councillor, get yourself properly informed.

(He also wrong in his complaint that I covered 'Auckland City Council' on the badge issued to me as a member of the Waiheke Community Board, because it is wrong in law to claim that community board members come under a council or are part of a council. I am not a member of the Auckland City Council Waiheke Community Board. In law I am a member of the Waiheke Community Board, which is an independent body set up to be an advocate for the Waiheke Community. Therefore to correct the incorrect badge is perfectly proper.)