Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Legislate in haste, repent at leisure

RUSHED LEGISLATION HAS CAUSED much damage over many years. Rodney Hide’s rushed super-sized council legislation—whose lack of clarity is now giving cockroaches space in which to feed—is only the latest, and a particularly egregious, example.

As an eager new local government minister, Rodney Hide wanted to get things done. What he was told to do was to super-size Auckland’s councils—and he took to the job like a new puppy with his first bone. A puppy whose eyes had yet to form.

_RodneyHood Dear Rodney was so violently opposed to any idea of an elected race-based Board on his new super-sized Auckland Council that he threatened to resign on the issue.   But since he so desperately wanted to get things done, the excited minister rushed through his first piece of legislation in all of his fifteen years in parliament … which called for his new council to set up an appointed race-based Board.

What a dickhead.

That’s a change from bad to f’ing awful.

Nearly half-a-million ratepayer dollars to be paid to a Browntable full of racially-appointed troughers, simply to give effect to an idea of race-based political “partnership” that is both disgusting and historically indefensible.

And it was this local government minister and ACT Party leader that made it possible.

Yes, Virginia, I did say historically indefensible.

No, Virginia, there is nothing in the Treaty mandating any kind of political “partnership” or racial power-sharing.

Yes, Virginia, as both local government minister and ACT Party leader Rodney is responsible.Treaty_Principles (1)

AUCKLAND’S STATUTORY MAORI BOARD would not even exist were it not for Rodney’s legislation and the destructive ideas of “biculturalism” and race-based political “partnership”—and where these notions came from was the result of rushed legislation several years ago by yet another ACT Party luminary.

Take a bow Richard Prebble.

Like Hide, Prebble was excited to get his feet around the cabinet table.  And so excited was he to “get things done” that when he wrote his legislation allowing the streamlining and easy sale of state assets (i.e., the State-Owned Enterprises Act), to quieten down the race-based dissent the sales caused he and his colleague Geoffrey Palmer simply inserted into their legislation the phrase “principles of Treaty of Waitangi,” insisting that “decision-makers” must have regard to these without ever defining what these principles were.

So much for the political acumen of these two. (“In the course of a relatively few years,” said a woefully misguided Palmer for example, “most of the outstanding issues in this area will be settled. Most of the claims now are known…” )

Because problem was, to this day no-one knows with any kind of clarity what these “principles” are supposed to be.  They were a legal fiction waiting for litigants to quarry in an attempt to make their fortune—which they did, in their droves—and a poison that soon infected every piece of legislation written since.

What that poison did—as subsequent court cases quietly morphed these “principles” into something even more lucrative for the lawyers—was to transfer the Treaty’s clear promise of protection of ownership into the sort of vague, indefinable stuff that lawyers love and other cockroaches can feed off.

In evoking “principles” that didn’t exist, it created a Treaty that never did.

It set the platform for a whole generation of young people to join the Grievance Industry and become, as virtually their sole occupation, professional Maoris. (Which is the the only “profession” the new occupants of Rodney’s race-based Board actually have.)

Even more damaging, it quietly transformed the idea of self-ownership of one’s own resources (as promised by the Treaty) into the idea of shared political management, by race, of everyone’s resources (which was never countenanced in the Treaty at all).  This was the notion of race-based “partnership” that over the last few decades has become the fuel of fully-fledged legal separatism—and the legal fuel on which Auckland’s new Statutory Board will rely when they get to the High Court.

Just a few years after the gravy train was well and truly rolling, then Minister of Injustice Doug Graham mellifluously opined that  “The sooner we realise there are laws for one and laws for another, the better.”

Richard Prebble certainly got things done. What he should have done however is get things right.

How ironic that it will be his blunder as minister that will hasten the demise of his successor as party leader.


  1. What a uniformed rant Peter. I do like your blog but you are terribly unreliable on matters of ACT and Rodney Hide – you are an unobjective objectivist.

    I suggest you visit the DIA website. There you will find a Cabinet Paper where Hide recommends against a Statutory Board. Alas Cabinet decided otherwise. Hate to have to provide you with a public law 101 lesson but that is how Government works – major policy decisions are made collectively at Cabinet. The Ministerial warrant isn’t a personal thing – it’s an office and subject to the constitutional discipline of that office – therefore Ministers advance policy where they are collectively bound to do so. All Ministers acting within their portfolio responsibilities in this Govt are subject to collective responsibility.

    That said unusually in this case you can immediately establish where the Minister stood on the issue and how that differs from the final position as decided by Cabinet.

    It wasn’t a matter of haste or a naive inexperienced Minister or an incompetent one – its how the system works. Nor was the legislation poor – it was a conscious decision one that just happens to be consistent with other similar Cabinet decisions in local Govt up and down the Country.

    Thankfully the Libs won’t ever have all the challenges and advantages of exercising power on behalf of the public, the Jedi are more likely to exercise public power in New Zealand.

  2. Oh and by the way you have also rewritten history on Palmer's insertion of the Treaty principles into the SOE Act. Prebble raised the concern at Cabinet at the time and spoke against it. Cabinet was advised by Palmer that his amendment was symbolic and would make no substantive difference. Palmer carried the Cabinet.

    Can't blame Preb for Cabinet following poor advice from the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

    Take a bow Richard Prebble indeed.

  3. @Chris, it's a cabinet your hero chose to join, in a government he continues to support, and we're talking about legislation he elected to sponsor--legislation you (almost uniquely) are still prepared to defend on his behlaf.

    "Nor was the legislation poor..." Yeah right. That's why everything is going so swimmingly for everybody except for ratepayers.

  4. @Chris, re Prebble: Your memory is not mine. I can specifically remember Prebble himself arguing publicly this was little more than an inconsequential bit of legerdemain necessary to get the SOE legislation through.

    What he did or didn't do behind closed doors--or you allege him to have done behind them--is in this context utterly irrelevant.

  5. Actually Hide isn't a member of Cabinet. He is however bound by collective responsibility regarding his portfolio responsibilities.

    I know these things are a bit subtle for someone so versed in US Constitutionalism. Time to come up to speed on matters Westminister not just Washington.

    Re Preb's public comments see my comments regarding collective responsibility Preb was bound by it. You should not doubt Preb's complete understanding of his responsibilities are a Minister few understand these concepts better.

    Your substantive concerns over Geoffrey's insertion of treaty princples might arguably have some merit but you should not lay blame at Preb's feet - its Geoffrey's doing.

  6. What that poison did—as subsequent court cases quietly morphed these “principles” into something even more lucrative for the lawyers—was to transfer the Treaty’s clear promise of protection of ownership into the sort of vague, indefinable stuff that lawyers love and other cockroaches can feed off.

    It's called "common law", and I thought you were a fan.

  7. @Chris: As I said the other day, there was no necessity whatsoever for Hide to sign up to supporting this government as he has, for which he has achieved nothing.

    There was another way.

  8. @Anonymous: No, it's called statute--and I'm not a fan.

    In this case bad statute promoting bad principles, and so ill defined it requires judges to do it.

    That's not common law. It's not even Objective Law.

  9. Yup PC, you're right. This is Mr Hide's baby and it's disappointing to see his supporters shelter him under the subtleties of collective cabinet responsibility.

    Hide had a choice and clearly chose to push this thing along with its flaws. It will always be his and as you say he will have achieved nothing. He's spearheaded the creation of an entrenched super-bureaucracy, complete with race-based boards. His work. This from the party that talks individual responsibility and one law for all. Ironic yup, and I don't get that many kicks out of irony.

    It would be better if his supporters could acknowledge this, and try to work out what happened, and take some action themselves rather than twist reality to nurture only excuse.

    Or, they could do some Libz-bashing instead I guess.


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