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Archive for the ‘Local Politics’ Category

Bureaucrat bites back

On a certain blog, a “guest” wrote about how offended he was when John Key said…

The Prime Minister said Brownlee had been given the task of overseeing the recovery because he could “knock heads together” and sweep away bureaucratic roadblocks.

The response was along the lines of “how dare that ****** criticise these people who have worked so hard to recover the city.

Well, of course Key was not refering to the unquestionably stirling work done by bureaucrats in the emergency, he was refering to the slowdowns that could be created by bureaucrats as the city tried to rebuild.

Given the faux outrage that Key’s comment generated from the left, you’d think they might have gone out of their way to make sure stories like this did not happen.

Their houses are uninhabitable and lie empty, and they still have to cover the mortgage.

For many, insurance to cover their rent will run out in the next few weeks.

But this week some Avonside and Dallington quake victims got a new shock, not about the state of their homes, but about their gardens.

The council is threatening to fine anyone who doesn’t mow their lawns, and the owners aren’t happy.

One does wonder what business it is of the council’s if I don’t cut my lawn at the best of times, but in cases like this, it seems that bureaucrats have no worries keeping up their uncaring reputation even when people are suffering.

These people are all New Zealanders

I just wouldn’t vote for any of them.

Dithering Jim Pays

Jim Anderton coudn’t decide if being mayor of a major city hit by a major earthquake was a full-time job.

His lack of clarity has cost him dearly.

There has been a dramatic turnaround in the race for the Christchurch mayoralty since the Canterbury earthquake.

A UMR Research Poll released today shows 55 per cent of decided voters now intend to vote for the incumbent Bob Parker, up 27 per cent since June.

The survey was done online and questioned only a small sample of 361 Christchurch residents so had a relatively high margin of error of 5.2 per cent.

But the result is a blow to Progressive leader Jim Anderton, who was a clear favourite before the earthquake, after polling at 60 per cent in the same poll in June.

His support has now dropped to 41 per cent, a 19 percent fall.

Mr Parker’s handling of the earthquake and the recovery effort are behind his surge in popularity, with 88 per cent of those questioned thinking he handled the aftermath very well. Fifty five percent of those questioned viewed Mr Parker positively, up 20 per cent since June. That compares with 44 per cent who view Mr Anderton positively, a 19 per cent drop since June.

That’s such a shame. I guess now Jim will have to find something else to dither about – perhaps his retirement, or maybe his merger with the Labour party?

Chin v Cull

On National Radio this morning they had the top two mayoral candidates for Dunedin.

While Mr Cull gave a good speech, Chin did very, very badly in his opening statement.

I’ve no idea what the feeling is around Dunedin, but that stammering performance has lost the incumbent a lot of votes.

“The disaster makes Mr Anderton’s position now look nonsensical.”

The other day, DPF posted on Jim Anderton, and how his idea of being a part time mayor was a bad idea. Unfortunately the title got in the way of the message.

Today, he’s quoting the Timaru Herald, which does a much better job.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker’s leadership has been flawless. His political arch rival Jim Anderton must feel like Cinderella stuck at home while the disaster ball is in full swing.

Certainly it would be hard to imagine Mr Anderton’s case for being a part-time mayor while he continued his MP duties now stacking up as a viable proposition.

It was questionable before the earthquake, and the disaster makes Mr Anderton’s position now look nonsensical.

Electing Bob the Rebuilder would seem a more sensible option, and the polls show Mr Parker has been making good gains on Mr Anderton.

Forget “what if”. The earthquake has happened.

Anyone who thinks the job of mayor of Christchurch will be a part time job over the next year or so  is insulting hundreds of thousands of people. In fact it’s worse than that because the people will also have a part time MP.

Christchurch faces it’s biggest test ever. Unlike many on the right, I believe that Jim could well have done as good, or better than Parker in this crisis. I don’t know. But whether Jim Anderton is the best person for the job, we know one thing for sure – a full time Parker beats a part time Jim Anderton hands down. It’s not even a contest worth considering.

Finally, a though. With the job changing so drastically, what does it say about a man who refuses to to change in response?

Councils Promoting Elections

Saw this in the news today.

A Dunedin City Council advertisement about council services has been ordered off air after a complaint by “outraged” councillors.

Several councillors had objected to the radio advertisement which featured a family debating the upcoming October elections and suggesting anyone unhappy with the Forsyth Barr stadium or inner-city parking should be enrolled to vote.

The councillors complained the advertisement “comes across like it’s anti the current council” prompting council chief executive Jim Harland to order the advertisement to be taken off the air early.

Now, in Dunedin the stadium is a very contentious issue, and a lot of people are opposing the reelection of the current council because of their support for it. Even so, it’s a very poor look.

The current council have acted in their self-interest and removed the advertisement.

Now, contrast that with this complaint from the previous local body elections.

Mr Quax, one of 11 candidates vying to succeed long-serving Mayor Sir Barry Curtis, thought a Manukau City Council ad was trying to influence voters.

A radio advertisement on Mai FM and FLAVA stations said “having things like free youth events could change, depending who gets voted on to our local council”.

Mr Quax said that was an overtly political statement aimed at getting the listener to vote for candidates who would provide “free youth events”.

To my mind, that’s much more blatant. It’s encouraging turnout by scaremongering about what changes in direction might mean. Yet, it wasn’t removed.

Guess who it benefited?

Elected OUSA President Thrown Out – Owned Computer

Jo Moore ran for OUSA president this year as an outsider. She won.

Her election has now been overturned, and politics as usual can now resume – phew!
Otago University Students Association president-elect Jo Moore was “gutted” and experienced a “huge shock” when told yesterday she had been disqualified for the 2009 association presidency.

Miss Moore said last night she was seeking legal advice to challenge and overturn the disqualification process, which she said had denied her natural justice by not giving her a chance to respond to complaints.

The decision also did not reflect the views of voters at the recent association election, she said.

OUSA president Simon Wilson yesterday confirmed that, after an appeal, Miss Moore had been disqualified.

I have seen this with my own eyes – the “in” candidates can do what they like, with no repercussions, but if you’re on the outer, you must be squeaky clean or the rules will be applied in the harshest way possible.

Ms Moore’s “offense”? Having a computer in her home, and getting people to vote for her on it. She’s supposed to maintain a 20m distance you see.

Never mind that I’ve seen people manning polling booths who earlier had been asking pointed questions at candidate forums, or that I know someone who heard another telling potential voters “we strongly suggest you vote, and we strongly suggest you vote for x” – x being the inside candidate.

Wayne Brown, the untold story

It appears the Wayne Brown, the mayor of mayors, is a bully.

What’s he done, that wonderful man who told his council to serve the people? What?

Um, he told them to serve the people.

The Public Service Association has accused Far North Mayor Wayne Brown of “insulting and threatening’ its members in his maiden speech.

Mr Brown was sworn in as Far North Mayor on Monday and started his tenure with a hard-hitting speech that contained a blunt warning to council staff – he expected a “massive change in behaviour and attitude”.

In his speech Mr Brown said council staff would have to “listen, ring back, help ratepayers not hinder, look for solutions not arguments, never threaten, insult, infuriate or demonise.” Those who could not or would not make the change would have to re-examine their involvement, he said.

But the PSA, which has 90 members among Far North District Council staff, said the staff were shocked the new mayor began his first term by insulting and threatening them. “Staff at the Far North council are deeply disappointed that Mr Brown has begun his mayoralty by insulting and threatening them without any justification,” PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott said.

“The council staff are part of the community. Most are ratepayers themselves. They have a good relationship with the people they serve and with the council’s management. This is why they’re deeply disappointed that in his first act as the new mayor Mr Brown has chosen to attack their integrity and threaten their jobs.”

Ms Pilott said Mr Brown’s abuse and threats were uncalled for and unnecessary as the staff and PSA supported his goals of improving the council’s performance to the benefit of all ratepayers and residents in the Far North.

“But these goals will not be achieved by bullying and abusing council staff,” she said.

Ms Pilott said the message from the council staff to Mr Brown was that he needed to abandon his confrontational approach.

But Mr Brown is making no apologies, saying his statements were consistent with his election campaign. “The public voted heavily in my support, the remarks were received with huge applause at the meeting, and there has been tremendous support in all the media for the stand I have taken. Talkback radio all over New Zealand has today been asking their mayors to give their councils the same messages,’ he said.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Who said this?

Heard on Morning Report this morning. Only a council bureaucrat could come up with tripe like this!

Q – …it’s only twelve caravans isn’t it, to stay there?

A – Um, Corin, we believe and, and the, uh, preferred operators also believe, but I have to stress that this is a matter between council and, um, the the previous operators so to speak.

We believe that the presence of permanent caravans and owners has an impact on how the temporary campers feel. And we believe that it is really important to increase the number of temporary campers, and so we’re looking to go back to the very beginning, in terms of, um, how people…

Q – [interrupting] So just exp.., sorry just to clarify that again… you don’t like what, in what way are the permanent campers, what are they in some way scaring other campers off?

A – Oh, I think it would be an exaggeration to say they’re scaring them, but certainly the feedback that we get is that there is an air of exclusion, that, that occurs when permanent campers are in any facility and it has an impact on the sites that are available, um, their familiarity and ease with which they move around the facility has an impact on, on overnight and short-stay campers… um, and and we’re really wanting to get back to those short term campers.

You just have to wonder what is going through this persons head, when they talk about getting rid of long-term customers just because they’re familiar with the place.

Sure, I feel uncomfortable when people are like this, but that’s really a minor thing. If you feel like that, grow up because you’re going to find that in every dairy, pub, service station, fast food joint, supermarket, bank that you come across in your travels. In fact, why are you travelling, if not to see the places other people live in?

Really, you have to wonder what goes through the heads of these people, when you hear the minor things they put first sometimes.

“Cancelled” – and Good on him

People get sick of billboards getting place on their nice clean walls.  Rightfully so.

But one manager in the Dunedin City Council came up with a way of getting back at the vandals, and you have to admit – it’s genius!

Council property manager Dave McKenzie said yesterday he put the ‘‘cancelled’’ stickers, with a barely visible note stating it was the property of the department, on all posters on hoardings in front of the Wall Street development in George St. He had done the work himself, after having a stencil made to combat ‘‘vandalism’’ to city buildings. ‘‘I did it out of sheer desperation,’’ he said. Mayor Peter Chin yesterday described the move as ‘‘wonderfully innovative’’. Ms Ellis said this week only 35 people attended the Lavender Globe awards on Saturday, compared with about 150 in previous years. She blamed the ‘‘cancelled’’ signs.

The “Lavender Globe” awards are a “Gay Pride” thing. Kudos to Mr McKenzie for not letting Political Correctness get in the way, and also to Peter Chin for standing by the law and his staff. It’s way too easy for politicians to crumble when thought crime accusations are being thrown, even by people breaking the law.

‘‘They may feel a bit aggrieved. I feel more than aggrieved I feel angry. From here on in, any poster will go to the cops, and we’ll ask them to prosecute.’’

One does have to wonder however, how any event can claim to have been sabotaged by cancelled signs going up on one set of illegal billboards…

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