The last stand
Listening to the Rodney Council bill being debated in parliament. As a Labour-sponsored rear-guard action on behalf of the rural Rodneyites to keep the North out of the über council it looks doomed. Tau Henare signalled in his speech - and the tone of David Garrett's interjections confirmed it - that it will be defeated by the Nactional majority. It is another sad day for democracy and for Auckland when the Mussolini of Manukau Rd gets to force another round peg into the square hole. It's an ugly spectacle.
As you can see from the maps I presented to the Royal Commission I am in favour of incorporating the largely suburbanised Orewa and Whangaparoa districts into the city, but consider the rest of Rodney can best be looked after by themselves - or as part of Kaipara. The new unitary council should be focused on the urban areas rather than the vast rural hinterland of North Auckland.
The boundary ought to be from the Puhoi river (and the toll tunnel) south - following the Waitemata catchment all the way down to where the current Waitakere-Rodney boundary goes across to the West coast. I don't think that people in Warkworth and Wellsford and Helensville see themselves as "Aucklanders" - or ever will. If they aren't needed in - and they want out - let them go.
UPDATE | 7PM: NZ Herald reporting the defeat.[...] the bill didn't have unanimous support in Rodney, and ACT's David Garrett said the same thing.
"I live in Rodney," Mr Garrett said. "The best you can say is that the people are divided over this."
Labour MP Phil Twyford said Parliament was a court of last resort and the bill was Rodney's last chance. "The entire Auckland local government process has been a fiasco," he said. "The people of Rodney don't want a bar of the super city -- and those feelings exist right through the Auckland region."
National, ACT and United future voted against the bill. Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party and the Progressive Party supported it.
There should have been a referendum on amalgamation after the Royal Commission reported back (though not necessarily a vote on the Commission's specific proposal) - with the urban areas taken as a whole and the north (Rodney), south (Franklin), Waiheke and Great Barrier rural districts taken as separate votes to decide who is in and out. It was a missed opportunity not to have got the initial support, but that is not how Mr Hide rolls.