When the government voted down Phil Twyford's Local Government (Protection of Auckland Assets) Amendment Bill in September, they argued that the bill was unnecessary as there was no plan to privatise Auckland's assets.
Just two months after making those speeches, Cabinet has agreed to make a "minor amendment" removing the requirement for local authorities to consult the public before privatising council services. Currently the law requires councils to use a "special consultative procedure" - public notification and a long period for submissions - for any proposal which involves:
(a) a change from delivery of the activity by the local authority itself to delivery of the activity by a council-controlled organisation in which the local authority is a shareholder; orBut Rodney Hide thinks this is "biased against the use of the private sector to deliver council services". And National agrees with him (though, to be fair, they could have all been asleep, or "too busy with their own stuff" to be bothered). Given that Cabinet decisions don't just appear out of thin air, but are the result of a long process of policy development and consultation, this means someone has been deeply dishonest about their plans.
(b) a change from delivery of the activity by the local authority itself to delivery of the activity by another organisation or person; or
(c) a change from delivery of the activity by a council-controlled organisation in which the local authority is a shareholder to delivery of the activity by another organisation or person.
But I forget: National and ACT's NeoLiberal ideologues don't think they have to be honest with the public, any more than they feel a need to consult us or expose their plans to proper democratic scrutiny. Deceit and urgency is simply their preferred modus operandi, to better ram through unpopular changes beneficial to their wealthy backers. As for the rest of us, we apparently don't count.
Next election, we should remind them that we do.