Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas pledges veto powers on council decisions

Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas
Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas

Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas is promising to give Aucklanders veto powers on council decisions.

Under his local democracy policy, Thomas said Auckland Council was on life support.

"Only 15 per cent of Aucklanders are satisfied with council and just 17 per cent trust it to make good decisions. If this was the real world, Auckland Council would have gone out of business."

Auckland Council has enormous potential, but its condition is terminal unless radical surgery is delivered
Mark Thomas

"This problem has been getting worse since the council was established in 2010 and urgent steps are needed to change it."

"I will introduce a new veto power, where 15,000 Aucklanders can require council to run a poll to overturn a decision made. The result will be binding on council."

Local boards, which Thomas will rename local councils, will have an ability by working together to block any governing body decision they disagree with and propose an alternate option.

Unless, that is, councillors vote by 75 per cent to override.

He will also make it easier for Aucklanders to require action from councils by initiating polls on key issues.

Thomas said 90 per cent of the 27,000 people who submitted on the current 10-year budget wanted governance and administration costs reduced.

"Nothing changed and we are fooling ourselves if we think we can continue to ask people what they want and then not deliver it."

Thomas has based some of his ideas from Switzerland's 'direct democracy' model of local government and also the online engagement taking place in some American cities.

"My new council budget setting approach will automatically include the top five local board priorities in the 10-year plan. I will also directly poll Aucklanders on key issues each year and require this to be included in decision-making."

Thomas will transfer all local decision making power to local councils, including all facilities, parks and libraries. They will sit together with councillors as joint decision-makers on a new council Business Committee which will decide contracts and procurement.

"The current disillusion with council has spread to the mayoral election, with only name recognition driving preferences.

"Auckland Council has enormous potential, but its condition is terminal unless radical surgery is delivered."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 28 Sep 2016 02:53:56 Processing Time: 542ms