What version of Party Central are we up to now? I'm not inclined to count, but I think it has finally wound up somewhere realistic with the news that Jasmax will be commissioned to design a temporary structure to sit on Queen's Wharf for the duration of the Rugby World Cup.
There was neither the time or the money to available to build some grand ferry terminal – and it turns out that even the ostensible beneficiaries of such a project weren't that fussed and really just want somewhere to park their big boats. Remarkably, it turns out that the brief for the Queen's Wharf design competition actually failed on that score.
It's hard not to be irked – and that's putting it mildly – that this whole half-arsed process has been conducted over our heads and will in a few months be handed to a development agency that no one can vote for (and whose ostensible chief was until recently engaged in trying to sell the last stupid idea). Really, Auckland is amply capable of screwing up this sort of thing without so much help from central government.
I seem to recall, way back when the Prime Minister first announced "Party Central", being excited that Auckland would effectively regain its old downtown pier. I was wrong. Now, through misadventure and muppetry, we have finally arrived at something like that plan. Could we now just stick to that, and let Aucklanders stride out over their harbour until we come up with a better idea?
I was furious when I heard yesterday that former Act Party president Catherine Isaac (nee Judd) had been appointed to the Welfare Working Group. We have lately, I think, seen more than we ever needed to of people from a party characterised by infighting, incompetence and conspiratorial tosh.
I'm somewhat mollified to learn that the Working Group will be based with Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, which has a demonstrable record of research competence.
But I'm far from convinced that "dependency" on the invalids' benefit or DPB is really one of the great challenges facing New Zealand, and I'd like to see very good evidence that a move to an employment insurance model – to judge by comments from group leader Paula Rebstock certain conclusions appear to be in place in advance of research to recommend them – would really be beneficial.
Gordon Campbell has some background on the Canadian model we’re already being asked to regard as a success story.
And, really, although it might not be entirely rational, I struggle to accept the fact that people on the invalids' benefit – the most vulnerable of all of us – are the problem when the bastards who ran the finance companies that have stolen most of my mother's retirement savings seem immune from the government's criticism, and (yesterday's news notwithstanding) are still largely gallivanting around. When my sister and I are paying my mother's health insurance because she can't afford to any more, I know who I'm angry at. And it's not people getting by on benefits.