The High Court has rejected an appeal by Northern Action Group to overturn a Local Government Commission (LGC) decision on the future of north Rodney.
NAG’s appeal contested an LGC decision which refused to allow the northern part of Rodney to separate from the Auckland Supercity.
NAG alleged the commission failed to properly consult with the community, failed to properly consider a proven “community empowerment model” proposed by NAG, and refused to consider a financial report prepared by private consultants, which showed that a north Rodney unitary council was not only viable, but had the potential to enable the area to thrive.
But in a decision released last month, Judge Christine Grice rejected NAG’s appeal on all points.
“Northern Action has not established a question of law nor pointed to any errors of law made by the commission,” the judge wrote.
She added the commission provided an opportunity for the participation and consultation of local communities as it was required to do.
“There was no public law duty to consult specifically on Northern Action’s proposal,” she wrote.
NAG chair Bill Townson says the court has essentially ruled that the commission was free to conduct its process in whatever way it saw fit, whether or not others perceived that was fair or reasonable.
“All citizens who value their right to representation should be concerned that this decision further strengthens the status quo,” he said.
“In Auckland Council that means tyranny by the majority over remote rural areas like north Rodney.”
Mr Townson said now the only hope for an independent north Rodney would be a binding referendum, but currently NAG had no friends in Parliament who were willing to champion such a cause.
“I would not bother with NZ First again. They have let us down already,” he said.
Prior to the last General Election, NZ First promised a binding referendum on north Rodney, but abandoned the commitment following coalition talks with Labour.
Meanwhile, Mr Townson vowed NAG would continue to press for improvements in the governance and treatment of the people of north Rodney within Auckland Council.
“Clearly, we need greater devolution of authority, responsibility and management of council services to communities in the local area,” he said.