Something to Hide (other than Rodney)?

John Key and John Banks chose to stage a public event in a venue open to the public, for their intended mutual political benefit.

A scrum of journalists attended, as they had hoped. They wanted publicity.

Now they are bleating (or at least Steven Joyce is bleating on their behalf) that recording the bits of a meeting in a venue open to the public, but that journalists were muscled out of, was unethical or illegal.

Suck on a big turd, National and ACT! You wanted publicity from this meeting. It cuts both ways.

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Auctland

I see Aucklanders have been invited to submit our entries for a new Auckland supercity logo to the Auckland Transition Agency and be in to win a $10,000 prize.

But just like everything else about the supershitty, the decision on the logo has already been made by Rodney Hide.

I’ve managed to get a copy:

Arise, Sir Rodney Bjelke-Petersen

Sir Joh would have been proud.

Back in the1970s and 1980s one of New Zealand’s more infamous emigrants, the corrupt and racist Queensland Premier the late Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, held onto power by what became known as the Bjelke-mander under which electorate boundaries were drawn so that rural electorates had about half as many voters as metropolitan ones.

As a result, Bjelke-Petersen was able to retain the State Premiership with as little as 20% of the vote going to his Country (later National) Party.

Now take a look at this table, taken from the Local Government Commission’s proposed ward boundaries for the Supercity:

I live in the Waitakere ward. So the vote of someone who lives in the Rodney ward will be worth 1.42 times my vote.  The vote of someone who lives in the Hibiscus-Albany-East Coast Bays ward will be worth 1.32 times my vote.  The vote of someone who lives in the Howick-Botany-Pakuranga ward will be worth 1.31 times my vote.  The vote of someone who lives in the Frankin ward will be worth 1.28 times my vote.

The structure is clearly screwed to provide greater worth to votes from areas that traditionally vote centre-right than those that traditionally vote centre-left or are more evenly politically balanced.

I don’t blame the Local Government Commission.  They were left with little choice given the Government’s legislating that there  would be only 20 councillors, that they would all be elected under First Past the Post, and that Rodney and Franklin would have to have one councillor each.

A gerrymander was inevitable.  And was no doubt planned because, as Rodney Hide said himself:

…you turn up with your papers … they [Cabinet] are too busy with their own stuff; they’re not bothered…

Race-based seats

Isn’t it strange that Rodney Hide represents the electorate with the lowest proportion of Māori in the whole country and the second lowest level of Māori speakers and yet he is opposed to race-based seats? Surely his party wouldn’t have a seat in Parliament if it were not for the existence of seats that did not reflect the demographics of the national population?

How many strikes does he get?

Act MP David Garrett (aka The Garotte) seems to have survived well beyond the three strikes he promotes.

Today he is reported as making sexually inappropriate comments to a female Act Parliamentary staffer.

That is on top of another incident, related to me a couple of weeks ago by a Green Party Parliamentary Service staffer. The staff member reports that he had just arrived at Parliament carrying a suitcase with a Wellington airport destination tag still attached. The staff member advises me he and Garrett shared a lift from the ground floor of Bowen House, and Garrett, whom he had never spoken with before, out of the blue commented:

You wouldn’t have got that on as cabin baggage, would you. Because you’re not a Polynesian who can get away with pretending to not speak English!

How many strikes does this guy Garrett get?

  • Drunkenly equating homosexuals with paedophiles on Eye to Eye.
  • Promoting a Bill that the Attorney General considers to be in breach of the Bill of Rights Act.
  • Having the same Bill criticised by the United Nations Human Rights Council as likely to violate two human rights conventions.
  • Caught out lying in his claim that 77 lives would have been saved if his Three Strikes Bill had been in force. Official information responses from the Corrections Department reveal there would have been none.
  • Racist comments to a Green Party staffer.
  • Sexual harrassment of an Act Party Staffer.

He’s got at least 6 strikes now. So come on Rodney – how come you are just saying you “hoped the incident would not lead to the end of Garrett’s career as a member of Parliament.”?

Isn’t it time to get rid of this guy?

Democracy gets a Hiding

Over the weekend Green Co-Leader Russel Norman uncovered an obscure Cabinet paper (PDF) that I suspect Local Government Minister Rodney Hide would have liked to slip by without public attention.

Here’s a few choice quotes from it:

I propose to link the second Government priority area – reduce bureaucracy and focus on frontline services – with the concerns I have about growth in rates and council funding decisions… While there is no formal definition of core services for local government, I would expect there to be general acceptance that it includes transport services (roading, footpaths, public transport); water services (water supply, sewage treatment, stormwater and flood protection); and public health and safety services (refuse collection and regulation of nuisances).

Um, what about parks, libraries, community services, galleries, theatres, recreational facilities, leisure and cultural activities Rodney? Or don’t they count in the narrow world of the Act Party?

[Transparency and accountability mechanisms] also include the requirement to consult the public on some decisions – notably decisions to contract major council services to the private sector or to sell shares in a port or airport company. The transparency principle has resulted in much more information being disclosed, but arguably without sufficient attention being paid to its relevance or usefulness.

Translation: Contracting out services and selling assets are too important to consult the public about, because they probably won’t agree.

Different groups have expressed various concerns to me about the present process. These include: …

  • that overconsultation is causing “submission fatigue” for ratepayers;
  • that the community outcomes process is being used to extend councils’ roles beyond core services; and
  • that consultation processes are unduly increasing the influence of pressure groups.

Translation: The wrong people are making too many submissions because the majority of submissions oppose my agenda. Community groups that have come together over local issues must have their influence reduced, because there is a “silent majority” that I’m confident really backs cutting and/or contracting out and/or privatisation of local government services (even though the Act Party got only 3.65% of the vote at the last General Election and was the only Parliamentary party that campaigned on these policies).

I do not propose to publish a public discussion document… Once legislation is introduced into the House, the public will be able to comment during the select committee stage. However, I intend to undertake some targeted consultation with specific local government and non-local government stakeholders once proposal are developed.

Translation: So I’m asking Cabinet to let me ram it through with as little public consultation as possible, but I will talk with a few of my mates in big business so it looks good and I can rely on them to put out supportive media statements if this all looks like turning to crap.

This is the Margaret Thatcher/ Roger Douglas modus operandi all over again. Consult people as little as possible and silence the opposing voices to your programme. Ram legislation through Parliament as quickly as possible, in the hope that it will be a done deal before most people realise what is happening.

We’ve been Rogered once by the bulldozer of the far right. It’s happening again, and it’s time for us to all stand up and fight it with whatever means we have available.

Rank indeed

I’ve blogged before about Christine Rankin’s unsuitability as a Families Commissioner – on the basis of her past performance as WINZ chief executive.

Last weekend I was at the Green Party AGM in Dunedin, and didn’t get to see the Herald on Sunday until I got back to Auckland – only to find this:

Christine Rankin has the worst attendance record among elected members of Greater Auckland’s major councils.

The North Shore resident and newly appointed Families Commissioner skipped almost half the council and committee meetings to which she was invited since the local body elections in October 2007.

The attendance records of the 84 members of the Auckland, Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere City Councils and Auckland Regional Council varied widely.

Rankin attended just 51 per cent of the 100-plus meetings to which she was invited…

That’s an appalling attendance record. Who knows where it will end up now she has the added “responsibilities” of being a Families Commissioner.

Unfortunately, it is the antics of the likes of Rankin in Auckland local government who have given Rodney Hide the excuse to launch Grand Theft Auckland.

Hat tip: greenfly (for the blog post title)

Rodney v Rodney

Interesting news this morning that Rodney District Council has officially decided that it doesn’t want to join the Auckland Supercity.

And even more interesting that its Mayor, Penny Webster, is a former ACT MP, so surprising to see her opposing what is Rodney Hide’s baby.

Here’s what I think may have happened:

After Rodney (the Minister) announced the Supercity, Penny Webster asked officials to consult with Rodney about how to respond. She meant them to consult with Rodney (the Minister), but the officials mistakenly thought she meant Rodney (the District).

So the officials went and consulted with Rodney (the District), whose residents were none too happy with the plan by Rodney (the Minister) to take away their local democracy.

So Rodney (the District) voted to oppose the Supercity, and Penny Webster was left with job of announcing it, which no doubt didn’t go down very well with her erstwhile Parliamentary colleague Rodney (the Minister).

Hat Tip: jarbury on frogblog

Lord Mayor of the Supershitty

Here’s the man for the job:


Eight years of experience in wielding absolute power and stomping on democratic rights, and now looking for employment. Rodney Hide just needs to have a chat with his mate Richard Worth, who as Minister of Internal Affairs will surely be able to fast-track the citizenship application in time for the local body elections.

A challenge for Rodders

The ODT reports:

The new Minister for Regulatory Reform, Rodney Hide, is asking the public for ideas on what regulatory regimes he should scrap or modify.

Well, here’s a challenge for Rodders. He’s long been a supporter of cannabis law reform – just ask Liberty Scott, who blogged this – one of the few things you and I agree on Scott.

So if he’s wanting a public response on regulations that are unnecessary and waste public money, how about suggesting that he should get the new Government to support the repeal of the prohibition of possession of cannabis for personal use.

This silly law wastes heaps of resources in three Government Departments (Police, Courts, and Corrections), and makes criminals out of people who do no harm to anyone or anything.

Seems I also have the support of Steve Pierson at The Standard on this – it could be a cross-party campaign to finally get rid of this stupid law. Rodders just has to persuade the Nats, supposedly the other party of individual liberty, to get behind it and it’s a done deal. Greens+ACT+Nats = a majority.

Send your suggestions to rodney.hide@ministers.govt.nz.