Thursday, 15 January 2009

Super? Shitty! [updated]

Two retired bureaucrats and a retired High Court judge have decided that 1.4 million people in the Auckland region need a super-bureaucracy to keep them properly in check.

That's the only conclusion I can draw from the Herald's suggestion this morning that the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance will assuredly be recommending a new "super" city council to "govern" the region and to meddle in "the social needs" of the region.

Just what we need. A new super-bureaucracy to make the existing uber-bureaucracies of the region look like friendly examples of small-government delight by comparision, and to give the super-bureaucrats a jet-fuelled rocket-propelled career path. 1.4 million people to boss around and whose "social needs" can be attended to. A dream job of meetings, memos and "super" action plans that will tell people where and how they can live, and what they'll be allowed to do if they beg correctly . A 140km strip of the country that the super-planners can dictate from their eyries, which will become even more untouchable and unaccountable than they are now.

A utopia for bossy boots busybodies of every stripe.

The nature of such a "super" city -- which will be truly super only in the size of both the city itself and of the egos of the people who will be clamouring to rule it -- can be gauged by how the smaller borough councils changed when they were forced to merge under Michael Bassett's force amalgamation of the eighties: from small agencies you could talk to, to larger bureaucracies who talked at you.

Ironically, last I read Bassett is not a supporter of the current "super" city idea (and I write this with only limited internet connectivity, so I'm unable to properly check that memory), but new Minister of Local Government Rodney Hide is. With boots on.

So if the Herald is correct, then, you can expect then to see small government advocate Rodney Hide announce in March that he will be giving his blessing to the largest new bureaucracy to be created in Australasia since Canberrs was constructed in the back of beyond.

Not the sort of legacy, I suspect, that Rodney's small-government voters thought they were voting for when they choser to throw their vote in his direction.

UPDATE: Owen McShane's 2007 column on this is worth a re-read: Super City - or Mega Flop?


  1. It may be naive of me to hope, but perhaps the reason RH is in favour is that he sees that one big central bureaucracy will actually be less wasteful than a bunch of small ones, all duplicating effort and burning rates like dry leaves.

  2. It would be exactly what Rodney Hide's voters expected, because he promised it.

  3. GREIG: have you checked up on how much more wasteful, and how much more onerous, the likes of Auckland's present City Council is than the previous Borough Councils were?

    Try submitting a building consent to the present monolith, and compare it to the process at the previous, smaller council, and then extrapolate this to the proposed "super" bureaucracy.

    One trhing it won't be wasteful of is its own power.

    ANONYMOUS: Which perhaps says all we need to know about the small-government credentials of both his voters and himself.

  4. Off topic but this is tailor made for principled Libertarin debate etc....don't miss out!

    Invercargill Cafe owner bans Israelis in Gaza protest...HRC outraged

  5. So I guess the answer is yes, it is naive of me. Oh well, perhaps if amalgamated it will be one target for slimming down. There I go again. I must need a pint.

  6. "Super" city?


    With decades of central planning interferences Ak has "developed" into a rather banal conurbation occupying an attractive location on two beautiful harbours. Here now is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a vast new reichministerium which can turn the city into a breathtaking slum occupying an attractive location on two beautiful harbours. The opportunity won't be lost! That's for certain.



1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.