People stop voting once they feel it makes absolutely no difference

Residents Vote In Mana By-Election

After six years, references to a “Super City” are hardly heard any more, except in irony. The limitations of the authority of the elected mayor and council have been all too obvious over issues such as the performance of Ports of Auckland Ltd and its claims on the harbour, and the housing crisis – more accurately crises of affordability and homelessness. The council has looked to be at the mercy of demands from the Government above it, and unable to exert much influence on the largely autonomous “council-controlled organisations” Auckland Transport, Watercare, Auckland Trade, Events and Economic Development and others.

But even more seriously, as Goff and other candidates acknowledged during the campaign, the elected council has seemingly struggled to impose its will on its own officers and staff. This is not a deficiency that will be easily fixed by a change of mayor and some members of the council. The constitution of the council reflects a theory of governance that gives “operational” decisions to the officers as an executive body and restricts the right of elected representatives to “interfere” in its operations. It can only ask questions of the chief executive, and fire him if it comes to that.

The system is not working satisfactorily for those elected, or the public who want to hold people to account when things go wrong. If a corrective requires a change of legislation, it should be done. But surely the new mayor and his chief executive can find a way to give the elected members a more active role and give more people reason to find it worth voting.

A council that isn’t actually accountable, elected representatives that can’t be controlled and politicians that are interchangeable.

When people think they have control, they pile in with wild abandon. ?Ask the producers of NZ Idol.

 

– NZ Herald

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