Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Still not all that Super?

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  • Matthew Poole,

    Once again, do as Rodney says, not as Rodney does.

    hahahaha. As I was trying to find the exact quote from Rodney about his mum and libraries (I failed), I encountered the Scoop release where he apologised for his blatant hypocrisy with use of public funds. Clearly I wasn't the only one reminded of that incident this morning.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    This clause makes me question a lot of the rest of that Op-Ed piece. It's inaccurate, to the point of outright lying. The law is quite clear on when the next guaranteed election for ECan is: the 2013 election cycle, if not before. From a lecturer in public policy, I expect a little better.

    Do you really think that the author of the op-ed piece didn't know about the 2013 deadline, given that there are references throughout the piece to the bill that set the deadline? At the risk of splitting hairs, I think it depends on how you define a guarantee: if you say that an event will happen at some point within a three-year timeframe, that is a guarantee of when something will happen by, but not when it will happen. They could decide to throw fresh ECan elections in May 2011 or July 2012 for all we know. The law says:

    The Bill will provide for the replacement of ECan’s elected council with appointed commissioners who will become the governing body of ECan until the long-standing systemic, institutional, and governance issues are satisfactorily addressed, or until new elected councillors take office following local body elections scheduled for late 2013, whichever is the earlier.

    The commissioners will not be able to address these issues before the next triennial election, which is scheduled to be held in October 2010. The Bill will, therefore, defer that election for the Canterbury region.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "we think the Council shouldn't run certain services on a day-to-day basis" is not the same as "let's structure the COOs for future sale".

    True. My understanding is that there have been certain unique design features compared with all other Councils and their trading arms - such as the new Auckland Council not having any say in what CCOs it wants and at least some CCOs like Water and Transport having statutory protection from being changed much by the Council.

    There is clearly some backing down in this latest version of the enabling Bill. I'm just not sure how far it actually goes and how much is time-starved journos buying the govt line that there's nothing to see here. For instance, Joshua has mentioned uncertainty about the extent of forced openness of CCO meetings, whereas Bernard Orsman says it's all open now.

    I really need to find some time to read the damned thing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    There's an interesting line towards the end of that Orsman story about costs.

    Mr Hide said that when the Government looked at the long-term plans of the existing councils, it took out a lot of spending on things such as information technology.

    The Transition Agency is solely responsible for such LTCCP reviews according to the detailed first Bill. Either the Minister is admitting that major decisions were made by the government instead, or he was actually talking about the ATA and the journalist recorded it wrong.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Well, I'll follow Gio's excellent example and spare everyone a not so wee rant about the "consultation" rounds I've attended that could have been held by pushing two tables together in a cafe; the miserable turnout rates in a nation where, by international standards, we make it absurdly easy to enrol and vote; and the institutionalised culture of secrecy and obfuscation in local government. I could also say a word or two about the only daily newspaper between Hamilton and Whangarei deciding local government isn't as newsworthy as Alison Mau's snatch and disaster-porn.

    Perhaps "they" decided people don't give a fuck anyway. I sincerely hope, after all the sound and fury, people are going to be getting off their arses and speaking up where it really counts.

    Wait, people not engaging in the political process is a reason for crappy central government laws? Parliament is a "well you didn't use it so we're taking it away" body now?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Wait, people not engaging in the political process is a reason for crappy central government laws? Parliament is a "well you didn't use it so we're taking it away" body now?

    Exactly. Even if one tried to write to Minister Hide with queries regards this bill, there was a standard reply issued 3 weeks later, and anything to JK has a standard reply too. Not the most encouraging way to get the public involved.Still I reckon, if it looks like Hide is the fall guy,English has taken over in the "sell Auckland's assets" department We have billions remember.That will balance the books :)


    ,"and the little one said,roll over,roll over,
    and they all rolled over and one fell out"

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    That's what I was getting at, yes.

    And do I have to start mainsplaining MMP and the difference between a coalition government and the policy platforms of its constituent parties? When the Minister of Local Government is wearing his other hat (leader of the ACT Party) he sure spends a lot of time bitching that National isn't cutting-and-pasting enough ACT policy...

    Wait, people not engaging in the political process is a reason for crappy central government laws? Parliament is a "well you didn't use it so we're taking it away" body now?

    Kyle: Not at all. As I've said ad nauseum, people are perfectly free not to vote, not to participate in the democratic process and know nothing (and care even less) about what local government does. But I think it's fair comment to say that bitching about your rates bill is somewhat futile when you can't be arsed getting involved in the process.

    As for APN's brave speakers of truth to power -- well fuck them. I'd love to have a free and frank exchange of views with the editors of The Herald and The Aucklander about the "democracy deficit" that exists when the only daily newspaper in Auckland's local body coverage runs the gamut from A(sinine) to B(arely existent). Of course, that's never going to happen because on APN's planet, accountability and transparency are for other people. Isn't that right, Russell?

    As I've said before, I don't think there's anything healthy when I feel better informed about local elections in London and New York, because the New York Times and the British metropolitan broadsheets actually give a shit. The NZH doesn't.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hide sounded odd at the press conference. All that "it took me a while to get my head around the changes" stuff. Was he sulking?

    I don't think anyone has posted the Herald's brief video snip. Interesting.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bitching about your rates bill is certainly futile in the face of an anti-democratic government prepared to do what this one has done in Canterbury and Auckland.

    And you've seen how much "involvement" in those processes was offered by those who think it's theirs to withhold. In that clip, Hide seems to be acknowledging the value of the select committee process in tweaking the 3rd Auckland bill. Shame him and his Cabinet colleagues didn't see that for the first parts of the process.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Not at all. As I've said ad nauseum

    I'm going to have to turn this into a t-shirt: "It's ad nauseAm, bro".

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Bitching about your rates bill is certainly futile in the face of an anti-democratic government prepared to do what this one has done in Canterbury and Auckland.

    *sigh* Yeah -- don't vote, don't bother being an informed and active citizen and it's still got nothing to do with you.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    I really hate it when people use words like fascist (in this case), socialist, communist or nazi as some kind of generic terms for things they don't like.

    Those words have specific meanings and there is no definition of fascist that covers whatever National is doing.

    So the alternative is? What word exactly covers the general actions of National?

    People are looking for some shorthand word to describe what they see happening, and the closest (albeit inaccurate) word is facist. Which is what people will use unless a better alternative comes into view and is adopted by a good deal of people.

    Mr Hide said that when the Government looked at the long-term plans of the existing councils, it took out a lot of spending on things such as information technology.

    The Transition Agency is solely responsible for such LTCCP reviews according to the detailed first Bill. Either the Minister is admitting that major decisions were made by the government instead, or he was actually talking about the ATA and the journalist recorded it wrong.

    The ATA is a somewhat sober body I find, and not prone to making a stupid strategic mistake like taking out expenditure on ITC, and I don't think they have. I suspect this is an example of Rodders reminding the ATA who's boss and pulling an example out of thin air without thinking.

    And finally, I find it a little touching and disturbing that I perceive commentators (perhaps I am wrong) as having a naive belief in the power of law in this context.

    Currently, in realpolitik terms, local government law is one thing and the actions of men (straight white men mostly) is another. The two rarely meet in the context of this government. Actions trumps law consistently, and to increasingly to my mind to a degree that means law is merely an afterthought, manipulated and diminished. Put simply, what Rodney et al says, goes and law is changed to reflect this.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Put simply, what Rodney et al says, goes and law is changed to reflect this.

    And the big boys step in to pave the way?

    Yesterday, Mr Key said the Government had had discussions with the board of Kiwibank's parent company, New Zealand Post, about a capital injection to expand the bank.

    "One of the options is we can refuse that request; the second is we could look to grow Kiwibank through a capital injection ourselves - just as we did with KiwRail, for instance. But at this point, that decision hasn't been made."

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle: Not at all. As I've said ad nauseum, people are perfectly free not to vote, not to participate in the democratic process and know nothing (and care even less) about what local government does. But I think it's fair comment to say that bitching about your rates bill is somewhat futile when you can't be arsed getting involved in the process.

    People aren't bitching about their rates bill.

    There's an argument for "if you don't vote don't complain about what the people who get elected do". That's not what is happening however. Your argument seems to boil down to "if you don't vote, don't complain when the government passes laws to remove parts of local government from your control". I'm not sure under which principle of democracy that comes under, since it's not even required that we vote in NZ.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham,

    Hide sounded odd at the press conference

    Thanks for the link Sacha.

    Hide - "That's what the people of Auckland wanted", or in other words, "if I don't make some changes, my electorate seat will be changing parties at the next election".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    don't bother being an informed and active citizen

    It's hardly surprising when lack of any tangible impact on decision-making puts people off, no matter how active and informed they have been. Improved transparency has been one of Hide's catchcries and I certainly look forward to seeing that manifested in Auckland's new arrangements.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke,

    I'm sure it will turn out so transparent you won't know it's there.

    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And the big boys step in to pave the way?

    I honestly don't know what the hell you're going on about. Just because "we" own a bloody bank, it doesn't mean the tax-payers inevitably have to get slugged because it wants to expand. But, hey, at some point next year I'd just love to see Bill English and David Cunliffe on the hustings asking (or dodging, more likely) some straight questions about where that nine figure corporate welfare cheque is coming from.

    People are looking for some shorthand word to describe what they see happening, and the closest (albeit inaccurate) word is facist. Which is what people will use unless a better alternative comes into view and is adopted by a good deal of people.

    "People" could try stringing lots of words into sentences and paragraphs that form a coherent, reality-based argument, instead of behaving like "They've" just stumbled out of an episode of The Young Ones. Stranger things have happened...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    There's a crony on my pony.

    The two rarely meet in the context of this government. Actions trumps law consistently, and to increasingly to my mind to a degree that means law is merely an afterthought, manipulated and diminished. Put simply, what Rodney et al says, goes and law is changed to reflect this.

    Hyperbole, much?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    So the alternative is? What word exactly covers the general actions of National?

    Well, you got me there. I don't know what word that would be. But it's a trick question, right?

    But if you insist on using the word fascist, maybe you could point out how this behaviour by National corresponds to any of the basic tenets of fascism.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Well, you got me there. I don't know what word that would be. But it's a trick question, right?

    In my experience, people who insist we should have one-word descriptions for everything are generally Fascists. (Smiley face.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    maybe you could point out how this behaviour by National corresponds to any of the basic tenets of fascism.

    To be fair, there are some mild echoes.

    For one, the minister for local government clearly intends a move away from democratic representation and towards the city being run by the business elite. This corporatisation of government is a hallmark of fascism.

    So is a certain disenfranchisement of the people, to be replaced by "strong leadership", which is, IMO, an aspect of his vision for Auckland. I'm not saying "Supercity = fascism", but the flavour is slightly reminiscent.

    Also, Hide does look a bit like il duce.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    When people hear the word Fascism (with a capital F) they often think of Hitler's Fascism. Mussolini's Fascism was less focused on 'racial hygiene', and more on the merger of state and corporate interests.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    To be fair, there are some mild echoes.

    Hey you one-tenth-of-the-way-to-being-kinda-but-also-kinda-not-necessarily fascist!

    Not a very good protest chant is it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Not a very good protest chant is it.

    Nope, but then reality is rarely encapsulated by a slogan. That's one of Progressives' biggest problems, really; always having to argue, "It's complicated.".

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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