Hard News by Russell Brown


Imagining Auckland: no thanks, actually ...

I can see that it's going to take a while to develop a fully informed opinion of the Auckland super-city plan, but you can place me right now in the camp of people deeply concerned about the potential loss of our community boards.

The Western Bays community board is by far my closest contact with local government, and I know that several of its members have an enduring commitment to our local area. I can see a direct connection between the matters considered by the board over time and what actually happens in our community.

Do I want to lose that -- as proposed in the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance report? No, I do not. And I don't see a corresponding gain in a supercity that would balance such a loss of local democracy.

On the other hand, I'm not sure what to make of arguments that focus on the alleged peril of Auckland's influence on national politics. Keeping Auckland dysfunctional to protect the rest of the country hardly seems fair to the people who live here.

And I would like to see rates from across the region support things, like the Zoo and the Auckland War memorial Museum, that are really regional assets. [Update: yes, regional councils do contribute to the museum ...]

But for now, no. Whatever "streamlining" local government means, if it removes the layer of democracy closest to me, then I'm not interested.


I neglected to link to last week's Media7 programme, which covered the uncertain future of the advertising industry, with a romp through the Auckland-Wellington cultural rivalry for dessert.

The hi-res ondemand version is here, the podcast is here, and it's also on YouTube.

The Auckland-Wellington segment is somewhat germane to the above, so I'll embed it here:

Note the presence of a high-quality button! (You have to start the clip playing for it to appear.)

This week's programme covers the Official Information Act, with a panel including Nicky Hager, Haydon Dewes and one other to be confirmed. There will also be an interview with departing Dominion Post editor Tim Pankhurst.

If you'd like to join us for the recording at The Classic in Queen Street on Wednesday (we'd need you there by 5.30pm at the latest, and be done before 7pm), hit reply and let me know.

PS: Another review on Leo's game blog: he sizes up the PSN download Burn Zombie Burn. Also, he lists his forthcoming reviews and posts a funny cat video.

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