Here is Sue K’s contribution to the urgent debate on Auckland governance last week:
47 Comments Posted
Unfortunately, Geoff, I think you are correct. I was trying to spin it the other way.
Mind you, he did get the bums rush from the Nats in Parliament, and then lost the Auckland mayoralty to Hubbard.
But I guess the fact that he came back means he has not failed. More the pity – populist bigots like Banks (and Garrett) annoy me intensely. I’d much rather deal with people like Rodney Hide. At least you know where you stand (or at least we did until he started playing silly games supported by no evidence re climate change and Gerrett joined his “team”).
in reply to toad:
I don’t know by what criteria John Banks could be called “a failed politician of the past”. He is the current mayor of Auckland City, and to most people’s thinking that would equate to some kind of success. I would describe him as a successful politician within a failing system, which makes him a person of some interest.
In reply to kahikatea, I don’t remember much of the work of the royal commission into electoral reform, but it is clearly a case with some unique aspects. If the royal commission on Auckland was designed to present a somnolent public with a coup d’etat, and the royal commission on genetic engineering was designed to disarm an environmentally concerned and aroused public, the royal commission on electoral reform seems to have been designed to appease a politically restive public which was behaving in ways that threatened to upset the entire parliamentary apple cart.
In context, the change to proportional representation took place at a time of economic and political upheaval. The post-war era of economic stability had ended with Britain’s entry into the European Union, the first oil shock, unprecedented rates of inflation and economic stagnation. With all that traditional political loyalties had been thrown aside. Blue collar workers began to vote for Rob Muldoon’s National Party, while businessmen threw their support behind Bob Jones’ New Zealand Party and the Lange/Douglas Labour Party. The result was significant political volatility, and an increasing trend towards “landslide” election victories as disaffiliated electors began to vote reactively against whichever party happened to be in power. Under these conditions it was conceivable either the National Party or the Labour Party could face political annihilation at a general election.
Added to that, both major parties could see that there would be increasing disaffection among the supporters of minor political parties who had no parliamentary representation. This exposed the risk that extra-parliamentary movements could become a channel for political discontent.
So loath as they were to consider introducing a system of proportional representation which would effectively end their duopoly of power, the pragmatic leadership of both major parties recognised that there was no satisfactory alternative. The game had changed, and they were forced to change with it.
So why was it necessary to have a royal commission to do the business on MMP? Again, I believe it was a pragmatic decision. Both parties would have contained constituency elements and local power bases which would have been opposed to an MMP system which meant a shift in power away from the local constituencies and towards the national executives of the respective parties. The leaders would have been anxious to find a means to avoid any internal conflict over the issue. And neither party was particularly keen to run the risk of either initiating an electoral reform that failed, or of opposing a reform that proved to be a success.
The mechanism of a royal commission got around these problems. But I still believe that its findings were in a sense pre-determined. The pragmatic leadership of the major political parties were prepared to go with MMP, however reluctantly, because they could see no viable alternative in the changed economic and political climate. And they also knew that a royal commission would be able to circumscribe electoral reform to prevent the emergence of radical political tendencies within the parliamentary system, by such means as the 5% threshold rule. Without such a rule, the New Zealand First Party could not have been booted out of Parliament, and the Green Party could have more safely pursued its own political agenda. A royal commission is not a people’s commission. Then, as now, a royal commission was deemed to constitute a safe set of hands when it came to serving the interests and security of those who sit at the heart of the regime.
“But he is also a staunch royalist and the representative of a corrupt and pusillanimous colonial regime which must be resisted and overthrown if we are to undo the damage of a century and a half of colonial rule in New Zealand.”
Can we add idiots like Geoff Fischer to the list of things the Greens want to ban?
Oh, fffade away John Banks. Geoff, let’s move on, rather than hark back to the failed poiticians of the past.
On the face of it, this has huge implications. Potentially a judicial review of the Minister’s actions prior to any legislation being introduced, because there are statutory requirements that Rodders does no appear to have complied with.
Interesting constitutional implications. Can a Court prevent a Minister from progressing local Government reform when there are statutory precursors to doing so that the Minister chooses to ignore?
You need to get out more, Geoff.
John Banks made his fortune in the liquor trade. He is a person who has always craved power, who knows that wealth provides a path to power, and who knows that people’s addictions provide a sure path to wealth. He has made money from dealing in virtually every kind of licit drug – from over-the-counter medicines to coffee, tobacco, and alcohol – but it is liquor which provided the foundation of his fortune.
Interestingly, Banks does not drink himself. He is not unique in that respect. There is a whole class of heroin and cocaine dealers who never themselves use the drugs in which they trade. These types tend to be the most successful dealers, but they are also the most callous and cynical. John Banks is of that type. He is a supreme egoist, who has no ability to empathize or sympathize with those whom he exploits to his own twisted ends. He craves wealth and power in a way which is obsessive and abnormal and which prevents him from forming normal sympathetic relationships with other human beings.
In many ways Banks is a victim of the society into which he was born. He is a blighted soul for whom it is not difficult to feel a measure of human sympathy, even if he himself is unable to sympathize with other human beings. But he is also a staunch royalist and the representative of a corrupt and pusillanimous colonial regime which must be resisted and overthrown if we are to undo the damage of a century and a half of colonial rule in New Zealand.
What then should be the ‘size’ of a city?
In England, the difference between village, town and city is a clear thing. Villages have no ‘common’ property, like a “town hall’, cities have Cathedrals. Towns are the in betweens, except that a city or a town becomes a village if the Riot Act is read there by order of Parliament.
The Auckland debate rages because we have no definition of what we are dealing with, and have allowed historic boundaries (e.g. rivers) to mould our thinking. When there is a clear shared sense of what our size perceptions are we might be able to remove the emotive debate and retreat to the practical.
Let me offer a definition.
” a single city element exists when the base infrastructures of population, road, water supply and sewerage disposal are each so intertwined as to make them regardable as a single entity”
This would, for instance, eliminate Kapiti and Wairarapa from any amalgamation of Wellington, but definitely include the two Hutts and Porirua.
Without a conceptual definition that we can depend on, how can we possibly move forward.
If you mean credibility with you, I expect we can live without it. One person’s feminist man bashing is another’s calling a spade a spade.
“Seems petty, yet you persevere with it. ”
Not really greenfly. Sue has some interesting points that probably need to be carefully considered, and then pops out a bit of feminist man bashing and her credibility goes out the window.
Does the green party want credibility from the wider public?
Christ, BP, that takes the cake. You practice at being clever all the time. Need go no further than this very page to see it. Maybe you should give it a rest. You’re one of the few antagonists on this blog who can actually string a few cogent thoughts together. Believe it or not, it dismays me when you descend into the stupid stuff.
On the other hand, perhaps you just enjoy the game. Like greenfly, which is partly why he’s good at it. If so, you need to up your game for sure.
Alliteration is largely convenience Pete – you are smart enough to Vote Green; Q; Can you handle the guilt?
Kahakitea; Please enlarge the Concept of ‘Political Device’ – you could be on to something BIG right there.
Just follow my lead BluePeter. Was the sexism you perceive the only point of interest you could draw from Sue’s contribution to the debate? Seems petty, yet you persevere with it. No greater issue for you?
Wow! I see what you did there, Greenfly. Fishing and floundering.
I wish I could think of clever stuff like that. After all, it would eliminate the need to form an argument.
BluePeter – as someone familiar with recreational fishing, I recognise that you are floundering.
Your confusion with where the sea ends and the sky begins comes as no surprise and is perhaps connected to your claim (above) that you are
Don’t feel bad though, we are an inclusive party and welcome any and everyone willing to learn.
I largely wgree with the thrust of Geoff’s quote above, but I’m intrigued about these two points:
“In the bigger picture, Royal Commissions are a political device for dealing with proposals for which there is consensus within the regime as a whole (the major political parties and the mass media organisations) but which face significant opposition from the public at large.”
the 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System, which recommended MMP, seems to be at odds with this point – it recommended a solution which the public was reasonably open to, but the main parties were not open to. How does it fit in? Did it reach the opposite conclusion from the one it was intended to reach?
“John Banks made his fortune by dealing in alcohol and other drugs which have helped bring New Zealand to the brink of social ruin.”
I thought he made his fortune running steak houses.
The Royal Commission on Auckland governance. “Governance” is a word which refers to the practice of government at the political level detached from the day-to-day tasks of administration and delivery of services. The perceived function of “governance” is to provide “vision”, “inspiration” and “direction”, qualities which have no measurable outcomes. The notion of “governance” is therefore much in vogue with business and political elites who get paid very large sums of money for doing very little for which they may be held accountable.
It is no surprise therefore that a Royal Commission was set up to investigate Auckland “governance”, rather than Auckland “government”. The word “governance” was deliberately chosen, and the word “government” avoided, because the Royal Commission’s findings were pre-determined in a way that could have foundered upon the material facts which would have emerged from any examination of the substantive and practical functions of local government, such as providing roads, sewers, water reticulation systems, parks, libraries and swimming pools.
In the bigger picture, Royal Commissions are a political device for dealing with proposals for which there is consensus within the regime as a whole (the major political parties and the mass media organisations) but which face significant opposition from the public at large. If the major political parties were at odds over a particular issue, then neither would accept the establishment of a royal commission to investigate the case. On the other hand, if the political establishment already had the support of the public as a whole, then a royal commission would be superfluous. Royal Commissions are only possible, and are only deemed necessary, in situations where the political establishment as a whole desires to overcome deep-seated public opposition to a certain policy.
Thus when the National Party and the Labour Party formed a consensus in favour of the introduction of genetically engineered organisms into New Zealand, in the face of a hostile public, a “Royal Commission” was set up to smooth the way. It is no accident that such commissions go by the name “royal” rather than “parliamentary” or “state”. There is a congruence of function between the institution of the monarchy and the royal commission. Both are essentially undemocratic, both are portrayed as transcending political differences, and both are used as a means of kicking into touch any political issue over which the regime is at odds with the people.
Royal Commissions, like the institution of the monarchy itself, are a way for the regime to evade or undermine the democratic principles to which the state is nominally subject. And the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance was an anti-democratic means to an anti-democratic end. The “three wise men” of the Commission have proposed a major centralisation of government in the Auckland region which will concentrate power in fewer hands, and greatly increase the political influence of the mass media, large corporations and centralised business organisations. It is a change which will have repercussions not only for the working classes of Auckland (who are already severely marginalised politically) but also for the multitude of local lawyers, accountants, doctors, small business people and other worthies of the regime who have traditionally enjoyed the status and responsibilities of local government office. In short, the regime is hell-bent on narrowing its own traditional political base, in order to elevate the likes of John Banks and John Key. The thing about Banks and Key is that both are very wealthy, neither are very bright, and both have made their wealth in ways that are, to say the least, morally dubious. John Key made his money through a form of financial speculation which has brought the world economy to ruin. John Banks made his fortune by dealing in alcohol and other drugs which have helped bring New Zealand to the brink of social ruin. These, however, are the type of people who will inevitably gain increased power from the royal commission’s planned “reform” of Auckland local government. They are politically pragmatic but personally unscrupulous. They are financially successful but lacking in personal wisdom, judgement, and intelligence.
The end result of the royal commission decision – which is really a “coup from above” directed against Auckland local government – will be the concentration of political power in the unsafe hands of people like John Banks. At the same time a whole stratum of middle and upper-middle class Aucklanders will be ejected from elected offices in local government, and this will have longer term consequences for levels of involvement in national as well as local politics. On the positive side, we can expect that those who have been shut out of the regime’s political process will, in time, develop new political organisations, separate from the institutions of the regime, which can be used to address the social aspirations of the middle and lower classes.
@BluePeter – I agree that the way she phrased it could be interpreted as sexist, and she could have made the same point in a better way. However, I doubt it was her intention to be racist. I suspect the part she considers to be the most unfortunate is not the gender of the elected representatives, but rather the identity of them. Everyone with even a little bit of sense can read between the lines and see that John Banks is supporting the supercity because he sees himself and his most trusted cronies at the helm of the supercity, selling off our assets, wielding immense power over the people while their democratic voice is ignored, and living it up big on a super-salary while poverty thrives in the neglected parts of the super-city. By saying ‘two men’, she is implying that she knows who is likely to be in the cabal.
OK BP, let’s try your thought experiment. But if you want to replace two men with two women, you also have to change the rest of the context as well. So instead of a woman MP, who’s spent much of her early life working to break down historically male dominated political power structures, making such a comment about two men, you’d have a male MP, who’s spent much of his early life working to break down historically female dominated political power structures, making such a comment about two women.
If that were the case, such a comment would fit with my furniture just fine. But its not the case is it, because it doesn’t fit with our actual history, while what Sue said does.
“Identity politics: “the truth the way you want it”.
Well – a Muldoonism after all these years. Methinks the wee Laddie stuck.
Really? Issues aren’t black and white? You see, I just learned something.
But, given your huge intellect (you do vote for the smart party after all, which means that you too must also be smart), I’m surprised you missed my point.
Pointing to the sea and telling me it is the sky doesn’t make it the sky.
There’s your problem right there, BluePeter. Issues aren’t simply black or white. I’ll help you through this difficult time of adjustment, rest assured.
I think you’re the one who is obfuscating, Valis.
Replace “two men” with “two women” and see if it still fits with your PC furniture.
Sorry, Greenfly. You’ll have to dumb that right down for us.
We’re very stupid. We can’t even see that white is, in fact, black.
Identity politics: “the truth the way you want it”.
I can see fine, right through your hyperbole and obfuscation.
Shunda and BluePeter – you’re selling yourselves short. Neither of you can be Neanderthal. They dropped off the evolutionary tree long ago. That said, you both do have a lot of catching up to do and Frogblog is the very place for you to better yourselves (and each other!) Aim for the sky, rough men, and one day, you too will fly!
Can you see the sky anymore? That hole is getting mighty deep……
>>their ways are higher than our ways
Ah, right. They are the smart party, after all, and the rest of us are mindless heathens who don’t know what to eat for lunch.
The lessons I’ve learned this week are:
Centralised power is fine, so long as it isn’t two men holding the power
Apartheid is fine, so long as white males aren’t doing it
Doing anything that will impact on the overall character of the wider surroundings is fine if you’re talking about wind farms, but not if you’re talking about flyovers.
Our leaders are indeed wise….
I agree with all Sue said, except for her sexist comments, but those should not detract from the main message.
On the other hand, Banksie is one of the only leaders in this country who actually takes animal welfare seriously, so if he is prepared to ban all factory farming as well as rodeos in the city state of Auckland I would support him and his super city.
When the rest of the house of cards collapses and we go back to smaller councils because the super city is undemocratic, any ban on animal cruelty is likely to stay in place, because that at least genuinely reflects the will of the people.
You’re wasting your time BP, don’t you realise it is impossible for a member of the green party to be sexist or bigoted?
That is the sole domain of unenlightened neanderthal types like you or I.
You must realise that when greens sound like hypocrits they aren’t, their ways are higher than our ways.
Suggests a different agenda? Sue has been involved in gender issues for 40 years, there’s nothing to hide. I read what Sue said as “let’s not go back to an old boy’s power network”, so these two issues are connected. You can argue about whether that’s a real concern with Auckland, but expecting Sue to ignore the potential gender dimension is ridiculous. If that offends you, so be it. If male dominated power structures had never existed, you’d be right, but we all know they did not so long ago.
Aucklanders say, ‘Who stole our voice’
They don’t need to look far to find the culprit!
BluePeter – don’t talk like a fool. That’s a mistake you often make.
Seriously, when in a hole, stop digging.
If the intention was to say that too much control would be centralised with too few (ironic for someone demanding governmental bans on food, btw), surely you’d say “An inner cabal run by only two people”.
Making it an issue about sex is very revealing. It suggests to me a different agenda.
Don’t treat us as fools. That’s the mistake the greens often make.
Sue’s primary concern here is that the proposed system will create an Auckland governance cabal that is not responsive to the wider concerns of the city. Cabals are not know for their diversity, hence her comment about ending up with only men in control. She could even have said white men. Your parallel example with women is simply not analogous in this context.
She probably shouldn’t have said something so likely to be misunderstood, but the real argument to have is whether her cabal fear is justified. I haven’t been following closely, but it is not obvious to me that this would eventuate.
Sue’s comments regarding the fact that the council is likely to be composed of and headed by males are not sexist
Fat, old white male politician says:
“(negative tone) An inner cabal run by two women, and I fear I will be two women…..”
Fear? Why fear? If those two women are the most qualified, then they should have the job.
You would be marching in the streets if a male politician said that!
Yet you defend it if it is said by one of the sisters.
The trick is to stay consistent. Else credibility suffers.
And not at the expense of Parliamentary democracy either!
Sue’s comments regarding the fact that the council is likely to be composed of and headed by males are not sexist – she is simply pointing out the obvious. Representation from the outer regions will be minimal if at all. I’m not going to be paying rates for a system in which I feel I am powerless.
jarbury – I don’t think that the Greens have come out in blatant opposition to the amalgamation. In fact, our submission stated teh contrary. As to the way the govt is going about it, well, Sue K makes the points in the speech pretty well.
We need a lot more regional integration, but not at the expense of local democracy.
>>Yes it is BP, but not in the way you imply!
No implication necessary.
Her comments were blatantly sexist.
The most efficeint thing would be for government to appoint an MP, Minister/Mayor of Greater Auckland to run a temporary supra body.
This body would focus on developing regional service delivery organisations (no privatisation and therefore initial consensus) working to the “Regional Council” (taking resposibility off the 6 councils which become areas of continuing community councils).
The whole point is a more efficient model – but the problem is the transition cost and delay in getting down to the real work.
Such a model would allow existing councils to function while the improvements in efficiency were being made. Otherwise McShane NBR is right, it is just not worth it.
As intended a Super City just results in dominant factions spending money in favoured areas – to the neglect of others, or if they are all to be kept happy a rising rates bill. It’s just not going to achieve what they want without government subsidy (economic loss to the competitive economy) of the transition cost and ongoing subsidy of the Auckland Councils spending.
One thing I am wondering about is the different levels of debt per ratepayer in the 6 current council areas and the varying levels of rates charged. Whose greater debt is being offloaded on the others and whose rates will be going up when one rates bill is charged to them all?
And BP, I actually agree with you for once. It was a silly thing for her to say. The best people should have the job, regardless of their gender.
I think the Greens have come out as a bit too “anti” the super city. There are definitely some problems with it – notably the lack of power for the local boards and the un-democratic nature of the councillors that will be elected at large. The Maori seats is another issue too.
But, putting those issues aside for a moment, the Greens need to recognise that there is a lot good in the super-city idea. One transport agency should make a huge difference in encouraging a more sustainable transport system – more power to an enhanced ARTA and less to idiots like Ken Baguley, the chair of Auckland City’s transport committee who wanted Grafton Bridge to not be bus only. One District Plan should make it much easier for strong environmental standards to be applied across the whole region, not just in those councils that can afford to undertake the necessary work.
It is fair enough for the Greens to point out that further consultation should happen, it is fair enough to point out the three issues identified above, but I don’t think it’s advantageous to be seen as quite so strongly against a proposal that – with a few adjustments – should be a great step forwards for Auckland.
Congratulations for this great speach.She has own a point of view and I am sure that many of us are agree with you.Thank you for sharing of this video.
“Yes it is BP, but not in the way you imply!”
“Yes it is BP, but not in the way you imply!”
Actually I think Sue was being blatantly sexist, her comment re. men had nothing to do with the issue at hand, I guess you think sexism is a male only problem.
That aside I think Sue has some valid points, this is clearly a major change, and it would be disapointing to see something rushed through without the proper discussion.
I think there is a very real possibility in the reduction of democracy and weakening of communities if this whole thing is not done properly.
Sue’s call for more time is not unreasonable and that is not easy for me to say, infact I think this is the first time I have agreed with any thing she has said!
Thank you Sue for your forceful speach. It completely sums up my feeling of frustration and disbelief at the arrogance of this NACT govt in the abandonment of the Parliamentary process and of grassroots democracy. As an Aucklander I am feeling more and more dis-empowered by this stupid piece of legislation and the undue hast with which it is being proceeded with. I can see the benefits of one overall administration for transport and other infrastructure. But that should be as an aside to to the just as important functions of administering to the needs of the community at a local level, and this proposed plan has no mechanism to ensure that happens at all. Unfunded community boards will not do the trick.
“Sexism still rampant in our society”
Yes it is BP, but not in the way you imply!
If Rodney said:
“…probably run by two women, and I fear it will be two women…”