Wellington’s governance and National’s non-appearance

Next week there’s a forum called Wellington: What Do We Want? How Do We Get There? being run by the Rotary Club of Wellington and Victoria University of Wellington, in association with the Dominion Post, at Victoria University’s Rutherford House. It’s pulling together a range of people to discuss local governance and whether local body amalgamation is a smart idea.

To Rotary’s credit, there’s an impressive range of speakers – including former Prime Minister (and Mt Vic resident) Sir Geoffrey Palmer, local and regional government mayors, economists, commentators, youth speakers, environmentalists and more. It looks like it’s going to be a good event.

However the chief architects of  this reform are notable by their absence; not a single representative from the National government has deigned to appear. Despite railroading supercity reforms through Auckland and stripping Canterbury’s democratic representation away – in other words, making the most wide-ranging and anti-democratic changes to local government in a generation – nobody from National feels inclined to show up to the seminar. It’s a bit difficult to see this as anything other than the government holding up two fingers to the capital.

However it’s not completely unexpected. At a recent Residents Association public meeting to discuss local issues, all our local MPs were happy to appear – except National. And the National MPs have also been notable by their absence from all the various public meetings about the Basin Reserve flyover, instead hiding behind press releases. No wonder they don’t have a single electorate MP south of Otaki.

But irrespective of National’s cynical approach to Wellington, it should be an excellent seminar. If you can spare a day on Thursday 25 October 2012, we highly recommend attending.

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