Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Vision Thing

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  • nzlemming,

    I posted a link on FB before:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/mar/19/david-cameron-sell-off-roads

    **David Cameron unveils plan to sell off the roads**

    Sovereign wealth funds to be allowed to lease motorways in England, says prime minister

    Anyone offering a pool on when this becomes 'long considered National policy'?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Nick Smith seems a tad confused about what local government actually does (reflecting the inadequate Act policy he is implementing on that tiny party’s behalf).

    Yeah, quite. As usual, they have a policy slogan and no real idea what it means*.

    *Nothing bad, middle New Zealand. Promise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Anyone offering a pool on when this becomes ‘long considered National policy’?

    Curiously enough, Maurice Williamson was touting such a policy in the months before National was bundled out in 1999.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    .. better return on state assets, freeing up capital to reinvest in PPP schools and hospitals, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. What could possibly go wrong?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yeah, quite. As usual, they have a policy slogan and no real idea what it means*.

    A clayton’s Livingstone vs Thatcher, methinks? The spectre of the Sydney Cross City Tunnel haunts. Build, bankrupt, bailout, rinse, repeat.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    Council social teams are at far more risk than any business-focused ones

    That is utterly appalling. One thing the CCC has always done well here is social housing. It would be tragic if they stopped doing that. It's not like HNZ can keep up with demand.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Sorry Russell for mentioning the possibility of speech writing. Seems some may not have seen the lump in the side of the cheek when I mentioned Ferrar.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Cameron's Roads:

    This would be seen as a particularly radical step because it would be a form of hypothecation – allowing a stream of revenue to be directed at a particular project.

    New Word: Hypothecation. Like an Auckland Petrol tax.

    And surprise, Treasury don't like it.

    Why do people want to build complexity into works and services for the masses? Oh thats right. We can charge double for it....again and again.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    Nick Smith has already denied social housing is for the chop (but not convincingly). However we can probably kiss goodbye to many other community-focused functions that are not seen as important to National's voters or funders or consistent with their current ideology.

    If it's really only about whether local or central govt does the work, let's demand detail about how many extra staff and dollars will be added to non-council agencies. However, expect wholesale contracting out and more charity/NGO involvement like this govt has already been pursuing in housing. And expect sneaky 'savings' and service cuts.

    Based on Smith's vague performance today, Cabinet might even be a bit flexible about what's ruled in and out. Unprincipled deals are bound to emerge in various councils as it shakes out. Recall the knots Rodney Hide tied himself in over whether libraries were a core council service until his mum set him straight. Pragmatic after all.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Cabinet might even be a bit flexible about what's ruled in and out

    Unless their 'daddy knows best' brigade wins the day. Respect my authoritah, etc.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Good op ed piece in the DP yesterday about the consequences of the selling off WCC owned Capital Power in the 1990s, by Sue Kedgeley.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Unless their ‘daddy knows best’ brigade wins the day. Respect my authoritah, etc.

    It really doesn't seem that far off Thatcher vs the Greater London Council on a nationwide scale.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    And this seems more than just a cheeky dig at the GWRC's Fran Wilde...

    Ms Wade-Brown was sceptical about a "Masterton to Miramar Super-City" but said the Greater Wellington regional council should be scrapped.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Crucial issue discussed in that DomPost story - spot the difference in perspectives and ask yourself who is being more realistic:

    Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule understood concern over the level of rates and debt increases but said that was mainly spent on infrastructure.

    "We've got to have a conversation in New Zealand about what standards we want for things whether it's water, waste water, roads etc."

    Many things councils did were not core services, but they had stepped in where the private sector and central government had failed. That included the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs, security patrols and CCTV cameras.

    "One could argue that if the police were fully resourced and doing their job then the council shouldn't have to invest in that type of thing."

    Millions of dollars had also been put into stadiums or the Rugby World Cup by councils.

    "If that wasn't a core role of ours then who was going to do it? And we wouldn't have had the Rugby World Cup," Mr Yule said.

    Dr Smith said the Local Government Act gave councils responsibility over social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing of a community, which created "false expectations".

    The proposed changes would require councils to provide "good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the least possible cost to households and business".

    Dr Smith said council involvement in events such as arts festivals and firework displays could go ahead because they were public services.

    But councils should not try to replicate services provided by central government or that could be supplied by the private sector.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Dr Smith said the Local Government Act gave councils responsibility over social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing of a community, which created "false expectations".

    The LGA also explicitly requires them to cooperate with other organisations including central government agencies to deliver outcomes in their area. Only without changing the power balance between them.

    The Auckland supercity changes did a bit of that and you've already seen it play out in stoushes over transport, land planning and the Rugby World Cup event. Now here's the deliberate weakening of local power to keep government in control. Feeble insecure men do that sort of thing. They ought to be called out on it and told to get some help.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    councils should not try to replicate services provided by central government

    Councils localise coordination of services, to achieve local results they are accountable for. And as Lawrence Yule mentions, they end up funding or delivering some that neither government nor private sector have the stones to honour.

    Maybe Smith is one of those scared little lads with control issues?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    It's not like HNZ can keep up with demand

    They could if they were adequately led and resourced. That's the problem, as it often is.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Ooh, Dompost commenter number 3 agrees with me (how convenient):

    What i would really like Nick Smith to answer is, why is he implementing act party policy? Act polled down in the low single digits so there is hardly a mandate for this kind of policy.

    Also - if Mr Smith is so concerned at rate rises - why is the answer more control from wellington and not more power for rate payers?

    Why cant we decide what we want our councils to fund?

    Daddy knows best.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    And as Lawrence Yule mentions, they end up funding or delivering some that neither government nor private sector have the stones to honour.

    Sounds good, but given Yule's role as apologist for council CEO lotto, he's probably just contextualising.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    It's his job to argue on behalf of local government on matters like that, but Yule shows far more understanding of what the sector does than the current Minister has so far.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Re: Ministerial Letterhead Abuse
    I think Mr Smith may have to consider resigning, I don't think this is a first offence. Also Mr Key might not want to feel comfortable about such a blatant abuse of power.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    It's his job to argue on behalf of local government on matters like that . . .

    Make that 'argue on behalf of those that local government represent' and I'm with you. From Yule's track record he's seemed more interested in protecting the dysfunctional status quo than in promoting accountability. As Smith's 'reforms' don't threaten the kind of local government faux-corporate largesse that Yule has previously defended, right now he's able to play the people's champion.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    'argue on behalf of those that local government represent' ... promoting accountability

    That's actually the Minister's job. Yule works for the equivalent of any peak sector representative organisation. We shouldn't expect LGNZ to say Council CEOs are overpaid unless most Councils have said that's their position.

    It'd be as unexpected as Katherine Rich arguing that food retailers are gouging New Zealanders and should reduce the price of milk. Doesn't mean others can't do that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    In case anyone hasn't read it- Gio's full musings on Shearer's speech, "Finlands of the Mind". And another slashing review here.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    In case anyone hasn't read it - Gio's full musings on Shearer's speech, "Finlands of the Mind"

    I hadn't, thanks. Striking passage about middle class guilt, I thought:

    But self-interested faux pragmatism alone doesn't quite explain why the leadership of the party and a substantial number of its supporters go along with measures against the less privileged that are petty and vindictive.

    It’s as if middle class liberals hadn’t yet forgiven the working class for Rogenormics, as if they hadn’t forgotten what they forced them do to save their own skin during the great crisis.

    Unmoor them from society, cast them off like that. It must have been horrible – and I don’t mean for the actual victims of the reforms, but for the self-image of the liberals, for their consuming need to see themselves as fundamentally decent and fair-minded folks.

    and summarised well in the comments section by Mr Judd:

    ... nice middle class people who benefited the most from reforms are cross with the poor people who suffered the most for making the middle class people feel bad. And there is an emotional truth in that.

    For me it seems well in accordance with the principles of social psychology, the just world fallacy, and cognitive dissonance: if we had to hurt poor people, they must have done something to deserve it.

    Now how do we heal that?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

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