Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Making Auckland safe for Len Brown [updated]

Well, that was very successful wasn't it.

It was "explained" to me a few months back that the set-up of the "Super" City, with all its attendant expense, dislocations and disruptions, was intended to make left-wing Auckland governance impossible ever again -- that the cost of campaigning over such a vast new principality would make Auckland safe for "centre-right" government (whatever that means) for most of the foreseeable future.  (The idea, you see, being that lefties have no money of their own with which to sell themselves.)

The ACT Party's entire political capital of fifteen years was put behind this ruse. After all, we've been waiting fifteen years to see what they would do when they got to where they always wanted to go: a seat at the top table. "The battle for freedom is not a battle of ideas," we were told. "The ACT Party exists simply to earn parliamentary representation and get a place in government, and when we do, look out!"

So after fifteen years of nothing doing and ACT finally does get itself a ministry, a whole ministry to do what it wanted with, we suddenly find out what it was all about for all those years that ACT supporters kept the faith, and kept up their donations.

It was for this!

It wasn't to gut local government, or put the chains back on. It wasn't to constrain the councils and remove the "power of general competence" that Sandra Less gave them years ago, following which ratepayers everywhere have been paying the price.  No, after fifteen years waiting for a ministry, the most important thing Rodney Hide could find to do was to make Auckland safe for Len Brown.

So much for the idea that the ACT Party has any idea what it's doing.

Or that it’s possible to somehow trick people into freedom and smaller government, instead of ;oudly and openly advocating the ideas that would make either possible.


  1. Let me see: in my world, Labour set up the plan for one SuperCity and gets everything in motion.

    In Anthemgate world Rodney deceives his supporters, sneaks into government, and hands the chains of Auckland to Len Brown.

    And they are called the rationalists. OK, I'm rather a crazy fundamentalist then.

  2. Yeah ACT's priorities in government have been rather bizarre. None of their founding principles of sound economics have made it past the cabinet table, it seems.

    I guess the assumption put forward only holds if all those right leaning voters actually vote!

    But I agree that I can't for the life of me see what the point of all that was. If anything, ACT should be devolving power, not amalgamating it. Most council services should be paid for by local body corporates, not one big freaking bureaucratic council.

  3. You ask (or we should ask), why wasn't the power of general competence removed from the powers of local government. I remember Rodney was a vocal supporter of this, but seems to have been cut off at the pass by the National Cabinet.
    Why did National not remove this.

    My answer is the PoGC gives local council the power to meddle in all sorts of things the were the preserve of Government, such as housing, hardship, employment.

    If you were the National cabinet minster isn't it nice to have local council picking up the cost for these things that then do not have to come out of your budget. If times are tight it is better to have other people do your work


  4. Anyone who has monitored mega amalgamation elsewhere saw this inevitable outcome. I works like this.

    Mega-amalgamations inevitably generate tension between the conflicting interests of the central urban area and the outer municipalities. Mayoral candidates from the business-focused central area will be seen to be more “right” than politicians from the surrounding communities. Consequently, the outer electorates favour their candidates over those from the central area. This geographic preference leads to the election of Mayors from the Centre Left rather than the Centre Right. London’s Red Ken was a famous example.
    And so it came to pass in Auckland.

  5. Blair: If anything, ACT should be devolving power, not amalgamating it.

    Yeah, why doesn't ACT do that? After all they got FIVE votes.

    Blair, National doesn't even depend on ACT for its majority. For every ACT MP the NZ electorate votes in 12 National MPs.

    There are some limits to what you can achieve with five MPs, and one would expect a rational person to be able to realise that.

  6. Stop criticising ACT and give us your vote. With 5 MP's there is little we can do...with 10 Key would have to lsten. You don't see Lefties constantly undermining each other publically. That is why they grow stronger and stronger. Party vote ACT and vote for Colin du Plessis in Mana

  7. Only 5 Act MPs.

    Then why can the Maori Party roll out policy but not ACT?

  8. Please forgive me God in heaven, I am sorry I ever joined ACT but we were so sure we would ablolish the RMA, and we believed in Freedom and Choice and Responsibility, and how did it all go so wrong, especially at a time wehen Nat need a spine like never before.

  9. This government could have thrown the Royal Commission report in the bin, as the terms of reference were contrary to the declared policies and principles of National and ACT. This government could have introduced a Local Government Bill to overturn the Local Government Act 2002, like Labour did in its first term, and to match the consistent opposition both parties had to the LGA at the time.

    Instead they bent and took the socialist "government can do what it likes" approach of Labour, the Greens and the Alliance like good little do-nothing conservatives.

    It reminds me of the Cabinet Minister who told Margaret Thatcher early in her career that socialism was inevitable, all the Conservatives were to do was to slow down its progress.

    Rodney Hide did NOT need to take this on board, he could have made acceptance of the Cabinet position conditional on actually implementing ACT policy (at least in part) in local government. He could have said that the Royal Commission report was interesting, but would not be acted on until there was a full review of the roles and functions of local government.

    He didn't. National is Labour-lite through and through, and ACT is a hand-maiden to all of this. The evidence of ACT's influence in the local government portfolio is a handful of speeches that talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk.

    The Green Party with its equivalent number of MPs in 1999 partly took over transport, energy and environmental policy without even being in Cabinet. So why are so many on the so-called "centre right" (I prefer soft-left) such complete invertebrates?

  10. Excellent

    Essay here Peter.

  11. Berend - they seem to have no trouble doing a host of things in government - just nothing worthwhile.

    They have political capital and should use it properly. Don't whine about their 5 MPs - that is plenty. They asked for the wrong things.

  12. Yup,yup,yup. What a waste of effort.

  13. You think Len Brown's bad. Wellington has just voted in a Green nutcase who only got there by conspicuously forgetting to mention she was a Green in the candidates' booklet.


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