Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Owen McShane on Super City

Owen McShane can be relied upon to poo-poo the MUL, and generally challenge much of the planning effort seen in and around Auckland. He regularly writes, as Director, for the Centre for Resource Management Studies. I sometimes get and read the emails. This one, I wanted to share. The rest of this blog is an extract from Owen McShane. In it he refers to his correspondence with Wendell Cox about what's happening in Auckland:

"...The Political Outcomes of Large Amalgamations - Owen McShane.

I asked my friend and colleague, Wendell Cox, an international expert on local government and governance, if large scale amalgamations were typically driven from the left or the right. Here in Auckland we have the strange situation where the proposed Auckland Super-City was first driven by the centre left, but has now been adopted by the centre right.

Wendell Cox replied:
"...Regrettably the right and left are of virtually equal distatefulness on the issue. In Toronto, it was a right wing government trying to kill a left wing local government and merge it with more conservative governments, hoping to move things to the right (and get rid of a socialist mayor for whom they had particular dislike, and for whom I worked to try to stop the amalgamation). In the US, much of the consolidation movement ... so far getting nowhere (there must be a God) ... is pushed by the elitist left, with the exception of Indiana (our latest victory I might way), where it is a highly regarded Republican governor who is so badly advised on the issue that it is not funny. Often you will find the most vocal proponents of these policies are central city business organizations and central city leftist elites. Then, there are always the misled rightists who think that larger governments will employ fewer people per capita, not realizing that the larger the government the more personnel it needs and trade unions become even more powerful. As I like to say, the only economies of scale in government consolidation are for lobbyists.

Here are my main reports on the issue

Toronto
http://www.publicpurpose.com/tor-demo.htm
http://www.newgeography.com/content/00318-the-toronto-megacity-destroying-community-great-cost

Pennsylvania.
http://psats.org/local_gov_growth_report.pdf

New York.
http://www.natat.org/documents/government_efficiency.pdf

Indiana
http://indianatownshipassoc.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,7/Itemid,/

I then asked Wendell whether the end result of such amalgamations was a shift to the left or to the right.

Wendell Cox replied:
"...You can bet that the left always wins. The left is better at power and governance (not in terms of quality but in terms of control) and thus routinely takes over the reigns of power. That much power should not be available in a municipal government. Bureaucrats tend to be elitist and generally more left wing, so the advice the councilors and the mayor receives will be more to the left. Democracy is diluted. Taxes are raised from a larger base and spending goes up... not just on personnel.

"Here is my commentary published by the "National Post" on the 10th anniversary of the Toronto merger. Interestingly, there was not a single letter to the editor posted in response... at that point Toronto was having severe budget difficulties."

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=790bcc66-f18a-4611-a8c2-11f2ff744c23&p=1

However, there is still room to get the best of all worlds out of the reform by ensuring the Super City and its Mayor focus on regional infrastructure, and by boosting the powers of the twenty or so "boroughs" of say sixty to seventy thousand population. Please – no "community boards"; there is no such things as "the community". And let the new Environmental Monitoring Agency write the environmental standards for the RMA plans.

These new "borough councils" could then do the jobs such truly local councils do best and most efficiently. And their might be a balanced distribution of political power through the region.

We just have to get the right horses for the right courses...." (End of quote from Owen McShane)

So. Interesting isn't it. All depends on who gets elected...

1 comment:

jarbury said...

That makes me feel a bit better about the Super-City. Anything that Owen McShane dislikes must be good.

Right?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Owen McShane on Super City

Owen McShane can be relied upon to poo-poo the MUL, and generally challenge much of the planning effort seen in and around Auckland. He regularly writes, as Director, for the Centre for Resource Management Studies. I sometimes get and read the emails. This one, I wanted to share. The rest of this blog is an extract from Owen McShane. In it he refers to his correspondence with Wendell Cox about what's happening in Auckland:

"...The Political Outcomes of Large Amalgamations - Owen McShane.

I asked my friend and colleague, Wendell Cox, an international expert on local government and governance, if large scale amalgamations were typically driven from the left or the right. Here in Auckland we have the strange situation where the proposed Auckland Super-City was first driven by the centre left, but has now been adopted by the centre right.

Wendell Cox replied:
"...Regrettably the right and left are of virtually equal distatefulness on the issue. In Toronto, it was a right wing government trying to kill a left wing local government and merge it with more conservative governments, hoping to move things to the right (and get rid of a socialist mayor for whom they had particular dislike, and for whom I worked to try to stop the amalgamation). In the US, much of the consolidation movement ... so far getting nowhere (there must be a God) ... is pushed by the elitist left, with the exception of Indiana (our latest victory I might way), where it is a highly regarded Republican governor who is so badly advised on the issue that it is not funny. Often you will find the most vocal proponents of these policies are central city business organizations and central city leftist elites. Then, there are always the misled rightists who think that larger governments will employ fewer people per capita, not realizing that the larger the government the more personnel it needs and trade unions become even more powerful. As I like to say, the only economies of scale in government consolidation are for lobbyists.

Here are my main reports on the issue

Toronto
http://www.publicpurpose.com/tor-demo.htm
http://www.newgeography.com/content/00318-the-toronto-megacity-destroying-community-great-cost

Pennsylvania.
http://psats.org/local_gov_growth_report.pdf

New York.
http://www.natat.org/documents/government_efficiency.pdf

Indiana
http://indianatownshipassoc.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,7/Itemid,/

I then asked Wendell whether the end result of such amalgamations was a shift to the left or to the right.

Wendell Cox replied:
"...You can bet that the left always wins. The left is better at power and governance (not in terms of quality but in terms of control) and thus routinely takes over the reigns of power. That much power should not be available in a municipal government. Bureaucrats tend to be elitist and generally more left wing, so the advice the councilors and the mayor receives will be more to the left. Democracy is diluted. Taxes are raised from a larger base and spending goes up... not just on personnel.

"Here is my commentary published by the "National Post" on the 10th anniversary of the Toronto merger. Interestingly, there was not a single letter to the editor posted in response... at that point Toronto was having severe budget difficulties."

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=790bcc66-f18a-4611-a8c2-11f2ff744c23&p=1

However, there is still room to get the best of all worlds out of the reform by ensuring the Super City and its Mayor focus on regional infrastructure, and by boosting the powers of the twenty or so "boroughs" of say sixty to seventy thousand population. Please – no "community boards"; there is no such things as "the community". And let the new Environmental Monitoring Agency write the environmental standards for the RMA plans.

These new "borough councils" could then do the jobs such truly local councils do best and most efficiently. And their might be a balanced distribution of political power through the region.

We just have to get the right horses for the right courses...." (End of quote from Owen McShane)

So. Interesting isn't it. All depends on who gets elected...

1 comment:

jarbury said...

That makes me feel a bit better about the Super-City. Anything that Owen McShane dislikes must be good.

Right?