Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Thomas Launches Local Power Policy

Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas will establish new citizen veto powers by introducing binding referenda, move to greater on-line decision-making and dramatically boost Local Board powers.

Unveiling his Local Democracy policy today, Thomas said Auckland Council was on life support.

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

“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 councillors vote by 75% to override.

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

90% of the 27,000 people who submitted on the current ten 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 ten 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.”

You can read the Local Power policy at the bottom of the Issues and Policies link here.



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