Mike Lee Slams Joyce Plan “A Joke”


ARC Chairman Mike Lee cranked up the rhetoric about the new Auckland Transport body today saying to the transport minister: “The point is we don’t want a bar of his transport bureaucracy – period.”

He said Auckland will end up weaker not stronger.

He says the CCO is now seriously undermining the whole concept of unified and strengthened local government for Auckland.

Mr Lee and the ARC have, until recently, been a staunch supporter of the Super City reforms.

He is today saying the determination of Steven Joyce to “impose a mega-sized and unaccountable transport bureaucracy on Auckland is making a joke of the so-called super city.

“One has to ask what on earth is going on when a Transport Minister who has no local government responsibilities can co-opt the whole Auckland Super City process.

“Auckland Transport will be spending more than half the rates paid by Aucklanders – starting at around $680 million and rising every year– with virtually zero accountability.

Mr Joyce is also pre-empting the parliamentary select committee (chaired by his colleague the Associate Minister for Local Government John Carter) before it has completed its deliberations, and reported back to the Government. This is extraordinary behaviour.

“The Minister is now in the media trying to justify why he will be appointing directors to the Auckland Transport CCO board without any democratic process. Deliberately or otherwise, he is missing the point.

“Aucklanders are not interested in hearing the Minister’s justifications about why he personally has to make the appointments. The point is we don’t want a bar of his transport bureaucracy – period.”

Mr Lee said the arguments from the Minister justifying CCOs also overlook two important points:

  • CCOs work best for revenue earning council activities – but transport services are not a business. They do not make money. Instead they spend public money and vast amounts of it. This activity therefore needs to be under the closest possible public accountability and scrutiny, not at arms length and working in secret.
  • “CCO is also a complete misnomer in this case as Auckland Transport will not in any sense of the word by “controlled” by a Council. It will be a creature of the Minister of Transport and controlled by the Government.

“Aucklanders will have very little say in what is the most important infrastructure challenge for Auckland of our times.

“The Minister’s behaviour shows the Government is not listening to Aucklanders’ concerns about CCOs and has already made up its mind,” said Mr Lee.

“The Super City and its new undemocratic super transport bureaucracy is being imposed on Auckland by the Minister against the advice of other Government departments.




  1. Patrick says:

    Enough is enough! National has just lost Auckland!

    Oops, that was a 1 term National government!

  2. bob says:

    Manukau Courier (owned by Suburban Newspapers - they do all the local papers in Auckland) ran a front page editorial against the Supercity and it’s CCOs. Rather late opposition, but better late than…

    The CCOs are the whole purpose of the Supercity - people like Stephen Selwood (of the infrastructure lobby) pushed for it, so their members could gouge more profits from building roads etc.

    So the chance of the CCO Boards letting the new councilors open their meetings and books to public scrutiny is minimal. The way to do it would be for Auckland Council to include requirements for all the CCOs (including Transport Akld) to have public meetings, agendas, minutes, accounts, etc. But the CCO Board will likely ignore such Statement of Intent provisions, and there is next to nothing the councilors can do about that :(

    Technically, the councilors can sack a CCO Board that fails to live up to it’s Statement of Intent, but that didn’t happen when ARTA bulldozed Kingdon St staton, did it? Councilors tend to chicken out from such draconian action, which is why Act & National only leave them such sledgehammers for neurosurgery…

    Better to ditch the CCOs altogether and let the council run it’s own operations, and be held directly accountable by the public.

  3. max says:

    As I said in another post, we may also get a quite different pig in a poke - the mayor and ruling members of the Council may be quite HAPPY to keep the agendas secret, once they have aligned the board members to their liking. After all, what better way to keep the meddling public out of their designs?

    That would be slightly better (after all, they are at least elected!) but would still be a big loss for democracy.


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