Thursday, 20 February 2014

Democracy Lacking at Auckland Council

Guest post by Stephen Berry

Auckland resident Rick Splinter has had his request for speaking rights at the Governing Body meeting of 27 February 2014 declined. The request has been declined by Deputy Mayor and Len Brown toady Penny Hulse.

What democracy do we really have in Auckland politics if a private individual cannot have a mere five minutes to address the Council and make his opinions known?

The official reason for the application to speak being declined was delivered by Governance Support Manager Jason Marris. It reads:

Your public input request for the 27FEB14 Governing Body meeting has been assessed by the Deputy Chair of the Governing Body, in conjunction with the Chief Executive, and the decision has been made to decline your request under Auckland Council Standing Order 3.21.3 which states:
    3.21.3 Subjects of Public Input
    Public Input is not to be used to speak to a matter:
    (i) that has already been considered and determined.

Your request asked to speak on the actions of councillors to censure Mayor Brown. The matter regarding the Mayor was considered by the Governing Body and determined at their December 2013 meeting. Given that the Governing Body has already debated, deliberated and decided on the matter, your request has been declined.

Mr. Splinter argues against this decision saying, “At no stage has any Auckland ratepayer had any opportunity to speak on this matter to the council and accordingly, I view this to be a clear case of the deputy mayor running defence for Len Brown.”

I am in full agreement with Mr. Splinter. The discussions over censuring Mayor Brown were exclusively conducted amongst councillors without public input. All Aucklanders should have the opportunity, in a formal Governing Body setting -- if they wish to use it – to express their opinion on the legitimacy of Brown’s Mayoralty. Is a five minute speech really that much to ask?

It’s now clear Brown is attempting to restrict his activities to private ‘smile and wave’ events where he will not be challenged by outraged members of the public. Brown’s last two public events have been a private Rotary Club meeting on Monday -- and his “State of the City” address on Wednesday was done in front of an invited business audience, without any mention of how a lame-duck mayor is able to affect the city’s state. Meanwhile, after being roundly booed at the NRL Nines last weekend, the Herald’s front page reports that other event organisers are telling Len to stay away.

The Len Brown Stand Down March taking place this Saturday February 22 is your opportunity to visibly and vocally express your own opinion on the legitimacy of Brown’s Mayoralty. Marchers assemble at QE2 in Britomart from 11:30am, with the march leaving Britomart at noon, travelling up Queen Street to Airedale Street. With opinion polls showing consistently that 60-75% of Aucklanders believe Len Brown should resign, it promises to be a very successful march.

Stephen Berry is Leader of Affordable Auckland, and the organiser of the Len Brown Stand Down March. Visit Affordable Auckland’s Facebook page for updates.


  1. Waste of time this march. The only scientific poll shows half of Aucklanders want him to stay. You need at least 69%-70% at minimum of ONLY auckland voters on your side to legitimately have a case to call a by-election. All this march shows is people who did not vote Len Brown want him gone after an election and after councillors who represent all Aucklanders voted to continue to support him as Mayor.

  2. No use expecting Labour, the Greens, or Len himself to do the right thing.

    But given the total failure of the supershitty council, its inability to govern, and the massive rate increase and huge redistributive transfers to South Auckland Labour voters --- so bad that several Northern Auckland towns have already started proceedings to become independent authorities again and see their tax take chopped to about 20% of the supershitty tax take -

    the question must be asked: Why hasn't National fired the Mayor.

    John Banks, Rodney Hide, and John Boscowen are all highly qualified to be commissioners running Auckland for the foreseeable future! And only a commission could finally provide justice to Ratepayers by returning to a Ratepayer franchise.

  3. Angry Tory

    The trouble is that the Tories caused the mess in the first instance. It was they who put it in place. How unhappy that it was they who provided the means for Lounge Lizard Lenny to express. How unhappy that several of the interests they derive support from also have interests in supporting Len. The Tories won't fire Len because he is their political love child- illegitimate perhaps, theirs nonetheless.


  4. It's not so much the Mayor having done something in his own time, it's the heavy handed tactics that council apply when they are in the wrong and how they ring fence themselves behind a wall of questionable laws to protect us? Not to mention the deep legal pockets we afford them to defend themselves against us.

    The term public servant/service is lost on these people who simply do not have a conscience or morals. I have been fighting a battle with the Auckland council to have them remedy my land which they have washed away, the only thing keeping them from doing the right thing is that they can hide behind these petty council standing orders and by laws.

    I am seeking to establish a community forum where like minded individuals are able to collect funds in a trust account administered as a not for profit organisation to help beleaguered rate payers receive a fair outcome when council has wronged them. This is not a witch hunt but rather that enough is enough. Anyone seeking to do the same please post on Campbell live.


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