Boost to local democracy as Aucklanders debate future of investment CCO

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Disestablishing a major council-controlled organisation (CCO) would be a step forward for Auckland Council and a great improvement to local democracy, the PSA says.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has confirmed the disestablishment of Auckland Council Investments Limited will be a matter for consultation in the discussions around the city’s 10-year budget.

If the CCO is closed, its investments in Auckland International Airport and Ports of Auckland would be transferred back to the Council.

"We believe this would be a positive move both for the Council and ratepayers, and for the assets that are currently under the CCO’s control," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"The commercial emphasis placed on CCOs is in direct conflict with the public good objectives of the Council - and raises concerns about the level of influence Council can have on their operation.

"We also believe the CCO structure undermines local democracy and leaves important assets open to privatisation by stealth."

Mr Barclay says the PSA will make submissions on the budget process, and urges ratepayers and interest groups to do the same.

"Over the past years we have seen examples of ‘in-sourcing’ in New Zealand - where councils like Wellington and Queenstown Lakes have brought CCOs back in house.

"Auckland Council Investments Limited is just one of the CCOs in Auckland - there are others.

"We would welcome its disestablishment and hope it will spark a wider review of other operating models."

Mr Barclay says whatever the outcome of the consultation, staff at the CCO need to be treated fairly and protected during the process.