The Green Party is the only political party doing any serious work on the implications of the small print of a bill the Government is manoeuvring through Parliament. Rodney Hide pretends his latest initiative is necessary to fix a few minor details still outstanding over the Supercity establishment. It's nothing of the sort. It is a covert plan for Hide's backers to steal our city.

Phil Goff's Labour Party should be doing the heavy lifting, not just the Greens. After all, Auckland is a third of the country.

Minister Hide, refreshed after his taxpayer-funded holidays with his girlfriend, seems intent on slipping all sorts of nasty undemocratic laws through while most of us are readying for the summer break. Our main attention is taken up with the phony war between the region's current mayors vying for the new Super Mayor chains, and the debate over new ward boundaries. The real agenda, however, is the "under-the-radar" war between the right, which wants a corporate city model controlled by the rich, and the left, championed best by the Greens and independent researchers like Donna Wynd, for a community model that is controlled by the citizens.

The bill before the House, if passed, will ensure many of the new city politicians are elected by property owners, not citizens. Anyone who owns a commercial or rental property in any of the 12 new wards gets to vote for the ward council. Theoretically, someone can get to vote in every ward.

This right for property owners to multi-vote is based on the premise that the landlord is liable for the payment of rates. In reality, this is nonsense. The right-wing argument that there should be "no taxation without representation" doesn't wash. It's the tenant of a commercial building or home who actually pays the rates, not the landlord.

This is not a small matter. Almost a third of Aucklanders own or have an interest in a second property, while another third are renters. That potentially means that a third - the wealthiest - Aucklanders will be entitled to double the votes of the renting third. The region's poorest neighbourhoods currently have three-quarters of their houses owned by others. In Labour and Green strongholds in the inner city and the western suburbs of Manukau, absentee landlords would potentially outvote the locals. So much for citizens controlling their own communities.

And Hide has also made a few other decisions. The new boundaries stay until 2015, whether locals like it or not, and the next two elections will be held under the first-past-the-post system.

In terms of Maori participation, John Key promised there would be a meaningful alternative after turning down direct Maori council representation. What we are going to get instead is the Cabinet first approving a selection board which then, in turn, selects a mana whenua committee. This committee can only advise the new city council and makes no decisions. No self-respecting Maori should be seen near this insulting sham.

When it comes to our public assets, then we see why Minister Hide wants less democracy in Auckland. Hide will appoint the initial directors to the boards that control our water, transport and other utilities.

After the first council elections, only two out of the eight board members can be councillors. Power is intended to be held by Hide's unelected corporate elites.

We know exactly the types of people who Minister Hide will appoint.

All our strategic assets will be available for sale from July 2012. Hide wants this bill passed so he can stack the utility boards with ideological fellow-travellers. If Hide gets his way now, WaterCare prices will not be subject to the consent of the new council. After 2012 it will be exempt from the Official Information Act. In three years time, our water will be sold and the price will skyrocket. By then it's too late to do anything.

I'd want to know where our new mayoral hopefuls stand on this.

- HERALD ON SUNDAY