In a paywalled opinion piece yesterday, Steven Joyce took aim at centralisation.


Those who supported the change of government will be happy with the early signs, while those who voted for the losing side are proving to be loud in their grief. Such is democracy. […]

Wellington’s story is one of spending money on grand above-ground monuments to itself, while not bothering to do the things it is most clearly mandated to do, like managing the delivery of fresh water, removing wastewater, and helping people get around the city in practical ways, including, God forbid, using a car. […]

After the Kaikoura earthquake, Treasury asked councils for urgent infrastructure projects which would help restore their resilience. Wellington cynically came up with the same bunch of capital projects for its water network on which it had refused to spend ratepayers’ money over the previous 20 or 30 years. The Labour government’s Three Waters plan was as much a plan to bail out Wellington as anything else.

Auckland isn’t as dysfunctional as our capital city, but sometimes it’s a close-run thing. […]

The previous government largely dismantled local governance and control over big areas of activity in regional centres. In the clearly mistaken belief that Wellington knows best, local hospitals and polytechs have had their leadership removed, and local government was slated to lose control of its planning functions and Three Waters provision until that was all halted by the election result.

Centralisation is clearly not working, and if it continues, it will get worse.

NZ Herald

The paywalled article is here. Discuss it on the BFD.

A contribution from The BFD staff.