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Posts Tagged ‘Local Government

Ardern, Lange and Cabinet cabals

with 6 comments

As readers will know I usually leave it to my six NM co-authors to focus on the NZ stuff, but in the case of an article I came across last night, I feel it should be spread far and wide.

Jacinda Ardern and the Ghost of David Lange

It’s from the Democracy Project blog based out of Victoria University and it’s a damned good read about the Three Waters project.

David Lange is one of the most tragic figures of our modern political history. Highly articulate and entertaining, he was ushered into power in a landslide in 1984 during an economic and financial crisis. Feted as the youngest Prime Minister of the 20th century, he dazzled the nation with his wit and intellect.

It took a while before it became clear that Lange was using his larger-than-life persona and seductive oratory to sell a transformation of New Zealand’s economic landscape on behalf of a powerful cabal in his Cabinet whose intentions he seemed not to fully comprehend.

The writer makes clear just how similar this all is to Jacinda Ardern, with the additional similarity of Covid-19 substituting for the anti-nuclear issue as the PR-positive smokescreen for Labour while the dirty work gets done behind it:

It seems likely that Ardern will end up being viewed in a similar way. When she was anointed by Winston Peters in 2017, she was feted as the youngest Prime Minister in more than 150 years, before being returned to power three years later in a landslide in response to a pandemic.

Her charisma and glamour are perfectly suited to the superficial politics of the social media age but she is obliged to dance to the tune played by Nanaia Mahuta, Willie Jackson and the Maori caucus — and by the others in her Cabinet, including David Parker and Andrew Little, who support their revolutionary agenda.

That last is the important point. Back in 1984, for all the talk of Douglas and his core there were plenty of others in the Fourth Labour government cabinet like Anne Hercus and Stan Roger who went along for the ride but have escaped the Left’s anger. In the same way Mahuta may be the lead on this, but she could not have pushed it this far without strong support from other parts of Cabinet.

This similarity is also noted:

After last Wednesday’s press conference in which Nanaia Mahuta, in her role as the Minister of Local Government, made it clear she would press ahead with her Three Waters reforms despite overwhelming opposition, it has become pretty obvious who really controls this aspect of the government’s policies. The fact that 60 of the nation’s 67 local authorities either strongly oppose the reforms or have serious doubts about them hasn’t dented the minister’s determination to push changes through Parliament one little bit.

I’ve lost track of the number of things that Labour have pushed through despite massive opposition, relying on the fact that such a thing is often transitory and that if done quickly enough the act can be treated as a done deal that now belongs to the past while more important topics relating to the future can be framed for the next election.

Would that National ever do the same. This Sounds Familiar:

When it matters, Republicans look around and say, “Oh no we can’t do that, we’d lose a man. The Democrats would take seats.” They are virtually a majority for the sake of being a majority. They just want to polish it up, put it on the shelf, and look at it. 

To put it simply, Republicans approach politics like America fights wars: They don’t want to lose a single man. Democrats, on the other hand? They look at politics like the Russians looked at Stalingrad: The congressman in front votes now; when they fall the next man gets elected and he will vote too.

To be fair on this point the writer does allow that Ardern has caved to public opposition on a few things:

Two years ago, she quickly backed off her cherished capital gains tax in perpetuity as soon as it became clear that she was facing a wall of opposition — just as she did in October with the Auckland Harbour cycle crossing.

You could add the collapse on Level 4 Lockdown to that list.

However, those were not core issues for Labour, despite public trumpeting about them, and they did not constitute really fundamental change. For example, the National Party’s “bright-line” test for real-estate gains was already effectively a narrow CGT that could be easily expanded later, and has been.

As the article points out, Three Waters is core, most importantly of all to the Maori caucus, who have Ardern over a barrel in a way they did not with Helen Clark and the Maori Party did not with John Key. Ardern is not calling the shots.

Moreover, in exactly the same way that the detail of the Douglas reforms were hidden for some time by mere details like devaluation, Three Waters is part and parcel of the overall He Puapua approach. Other “details”, perhaps quite large ones, will come into view over time, even with Labour in Opposition:

He Puapua itself states increased Māori rangatiratanga will require financing and that, “There are multiple streams from which financial contributions might be sourced, including, for example, levies on resource use where Māori have a strong claim to ownership, such as water.”

Despite all the spin, when you’re talking about getting returns from an asset then we are talking real ownership of that asset.

For that future, one set of theories driving all this and not discussed in the article – perhaps because it smacks too much of US academic theory – is how deeply embedded the Left wing Maori and White defenders of these schemes are in the ideology of “anti-colonialism” with its connections to Identity Politics, Woke and Critical Race Theory. The racists among them, like Mahuta, hate White people who do not agree with their ideas, while the “anti-racist” White Labour members such as Parker are all in on the Guilt and Shame about their ancestors and ready to do anything to expunge it.

Read the whole article.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 7, 2021 at 1:09 pm


with 17 comments

On TV One 6.00 news a story on the Far North District Council having their traffic wardens issue $200 infringement notices for vehicles failing to display current registration stickers and/or current warrants of fitness. Yes, unregistered/unwarranted vehicles are the norm in the Far North, particularly in Kaikohe, where TV One filmed the segment, and yes, action is needed to get these vehicles off the road.

But enforcement action is clearly the job of the Police, trained, paid and mandated to carry this out. Not traffic wardens who could be putting themselves at risk of harm by upset ferals.

Yes, I know the Police don’t see this as a priority but we’re getting into really dangerous territory when action like this is seen as the answer when the real answer is for the Police to do the job they are trained, paid and mandated to do.

New Zealand, the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

July 4, 2021 at 10:37 pm

Posted in Law and Order

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with 13 comments

It’s a portfolio mix we haven’t seen before. A Minister holding both the Foreign Affairs and Local Government portfolios. Some unkind people might say Mahuta was given the portfolios as a sop to Maoridom. That she was an inherently lazy person trading on her links to Kingitanga and someone who would always defer to departmental bureaucracy.

It appears not with her decision announced yesterday that the government would move, under urgency, to repeal statute proving for a local poll to test any decision by a local body to establish separate Maori only wards.

No matter that the manifesto the Labour Party went to the country with was silent on the issue. No matter the move is being rammed through under urgency bypassing the normal legislative process.

You can fairly ask what other matters that weren’t covered off in Labour’s election manifesto are now waiting in the wings now that the government effectively enjoys unbridled power.

New Zealand … the way you’ve got it.

Written by The Veteran

February 2, 2021 at 10:53 am

Posted in New Zealand

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Clearly local government is going to be in for a very difficult few years.    I would conservatively estimate that their rate take will, in the short term and maybe medium term, be down by something between a quarter and a third (and perhaps more) with many businesses going to the wall and out-of-work property owners unable to pay.  

One also has to query the ability of Councils to access the loan market especially with central government actively in there soaking up available funds. 

Perhaps a pointer might be to look at what Government defines as ‘essential services’ for local government.   They are …

  • Drinking water and wastewater services
  • Solid waste (rubbish and recycling) services
  • Cemeteries and crematoria
  • Responses to stormwater events
  • Maintenance of public toilets
  • Animal management services (including caring for impounded dogs)
  • Urgent repairs to road surfaces, bridges and traffic management, including traffic lights
  • Public transport
  • Social housing
  • Building consents where there is an urgent need for construction work associated with COVID-19 response work

Looking at that list and you might cogently argue that the provision of social housing is a central government responsibility.  

That aside, the list surely represents the bottom-line start point.     Just how you manage and expand the list to include libraries, museums, swimming pools, parks, camping grounds, parking facilities and the like will be a test for the duly elected because I can’t see local government being in a position to pick up where they left off.    The dynamic has changed and local government will have to change to reflect that.


Written by The Veteran

April 4, 2020 at 2:08 am

Posted in New Zealand

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The msm has been curiously silent on the Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill being promoted through the House as a Government Bill … why, dunno … guess it’s not seen as ‘sexy’ enough to warrant a little digging.   It does.

The Bill removes the last remaining fiscal constraint on local councils by deleting the present clause 10(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 2002 requiring local government to meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for businesses and householdsand replace it with a new sub clause readingto promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future”.    

Talk about a blank cheque for social engineering bereft of accountability beyond that of the triennial elections and by then it’s too late.

All per courtesy of the COL.   For this (and many things) St Jacinda and her two little helpers have much to answer for.

Written by The Veteran

April 15, 2018 at 8:19 am

Posted in New Zealand

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