Regardless of whether you think race-based wards are ‘racist’ or ‘progressive,’ Minister Nanaia Mahuta has cancelled your right to vote for the second time.

The first time was when she cancelled the by-election and removed your right to choose a new mayor and councillors after Tenby Powell abandoned his post. Here’s some of the advice she received, released under the OIA, about Tauranga residents exercising their right to vote:

Key risks: “the potential for the by-election to become a public contest of key aspects of the [Council budget].”

What?! A public debate on how much residents will be taxed and what for; we can’t allow that!

“The potential for a shift in the balance and priorities of the council following the election” What?! The public choosing a new direction for their city? Outrageous, cancel it!

There’s clearly an aversion to democracy from our nation’s bureaucratic class. Another justification they cited for cancelling the by-election and installing commissioners was a push by some councillors to give you a say, via referendum, on a ‘pay-as-you-throw’ rates-funded rubbish collection. Whose rubbish is it anyway?

Now, we’re told to prepare for an “18-20 per cent rate increase year-on-year.” Some might think that’s a reasonable price to pay for ‘sorting out traffic’ but the truth is it’s to lever more people into a city bursting at the seams; congestion is forecast to get worse under Government’s growth agenda which current residents are now expected to pay for!

Am I anti-growth? No. What grinds me is that for 20 years you were never asked if that’s what you wanted for your city. You were told, not asked.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris