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Speaker: The Democracy-Free Zone

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  • Lilith __,

    Thank you for articulating this so well. So hard to believe we're being treated this way. I was trying to explain it all to a friend up north on the phone last night, and she kept saying things like, "But ECan still has to get working properly again, doesn't it?", and "But there must be some good reason for it, isn't there?", and "Surely there must be some good things in the Plan?"

    What the govt's inflicting on the people of Chch beggars belief. I think a lot of us are so paralysed with horror we don't know what to do. But sign a petition, yep, I can do that!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Chris Barton has a detailed article on the huge cbd land grab that reveals what's driving the profound loss of democracy in Christchurch, just as agribusiness access to irrigation resources is behind the overthrow of ECan.

    Unskilled leaders fail to reconcile business interests with public accountability. Yet that's who our nation and Canterbury's voters have elected.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    that's who our nation and Canterbury's voters have elected.

    We didn't elect them to take our democracy away, though. You can't get a mandate for that!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    This government had already taken ECan's democracy away in their first term - to say nothing of the Auckland region changes. The implications of the CERA legislation were also pretty clear when introduced.

    Yet in the face of disorganised and ineffectual opposition they were re-elected, and even took Christchurch Central for the first time ever. Can you blame them for being cocky?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    Can you blame them for being cocky?

    Blame them for being cocky, no. Blame them for abusing due process and taking away more of our rights, yes.

    I know we’re on the same side here Sacha. I’d like to yell at all the people who didn’t vote in the last election. Voter alienation and authoritarian government can be mutually-reinforcing I think. But is there a tipping point when the disaffected voters get scared and angry? Have we reached that point yet in Canty? Hope so.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    I’d like to yell at all the people who didn’t vote in the last election

    I wouldn't. They were let down by those who didn't provide a viable alternative to make the trip to the polling booth attractive enough.

    Good to see more organised resistance emerging in Chritchurch. I reckon the schools issue might be the one to rally support more than ECan ever has.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Great work Browyn :-)
    And The Press has been surprisingly good. I found this article "The Business of NZ Inc" nicely tied the govt's guiding inclinations to what they've been doing- and trying to do- in Chch- before and after the quakes.
    Many people genuinely support the NZ Inc approach, believing it offers the best vision for prosperity. Which leaves those of us who'd rather gnaw our arms off than live in a National Corporation with something concrete to argue against.
    A couple of opinion-pieces by Ian Maxwell also worth reading.
    Some worthy leadership from the local rag.
    Never ever dreamt I'd read a Press editorial scolding that the govt

    justifies its move by saying little more than that the commissioners have done well and are suited to continue to supervise the province as it reorganises water and transport. Why an elected council could not do that job the Government does not say. Instead, it relies on the assertion that the commissioners provide efficiency, strong governance, effectiveness, problem-solving, stability.

    Those are the justifications of every tin-pot dictator, echoing the sentiments of Suva. They count as nothing against the imperative of citizens controlling their governors by means of the ballot box, the free flow of information and the right of appeal.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    It's been a difficult course for opposition politicians to navigate as they try not to be accused of exploiting the situation, and not to provoke the government into avoiding good ideas out of spite. They must continue to try as hard as they can, but I die a little inside sometimes when I look at the comments on news websites from people bitching at say Lianne Dalziel, asking why she can't be more supportive of the recovery effort and accusing her of just being out for herself.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    I wouldn’t. They were let down by those who didn’t provide a viable alternative to make the trip to the polling booth attractive enough.

    In the case of Christchurch, I don't think it's quite that simple.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    I die a little inside sometimes when I look at the comments on news websites from people bitching at say Lianne Dalziel, asking why she can’t be more supportive of the recovery effort and accusing her of just being out for herself.

    Really? That's just ... weird.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Welcome to Suva-on-the-Avon.

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

  • Lilith __,

    I think part of our trouble here in Chch is that we're so worn out with disasters both natural and governmental. We're really, really tired. There are so many battles to be fought on so many fronts, and many people are preoccupied with what's most personal and immediate: trying to get their own homes sorted out.

    So any political solidarity people in other parts of NZ can provide, we are grateful for.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Listening to Bill English on the radio today I was struck by the revelation that we are inexorably heading back into the maelstrom of another Muldoon administration. All this central planning and erosion of democracy doesn't seem to leave any other interpretation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    Don't forget about ECAN. Democracy got a bullet between the eyes there, too. What does the government have against Christchurch?

    National hasn't impressed me with the ease they kill off democracy to enable their business projects.

    A copy of "Shock Doctrine" should be delivered to every home in the city. This looks like a text-book example of using a crisis to override all on the path to a neo-liberal agenda for Canterbury.

    The rest of the country should - must - take note.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    It's not just CHCH. Everything this government does in centred around the idea that managers can do thigs better than anyone or everyone else. Why use democracy when there are perfectly good managers who can make the change process much more efficient. Which might even be true if there really were good managers on deck.

    But it is CHCH that is suffering the brunt of it. Precisely because so much change really does need to happen. Perhaps a different leadership might have allowed the people to guide the change in a direction that they wanted, or not. But this leadership most definitely believes the change should be managed for you and you do not need to be consulted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Seriously, read the comments on the Press' website whenever there's a story about Dalziel or anyone else for that matter criticising Brownless, CERA or Parker. A sizable minority of comments will slag the critic as a self-serving whinger and stress the need for unity and gratitude to the powers that be.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It's not just CHCH. Everything this government does in centred around the idea that managers can do thigs better than anyone or everyone else.

    Exactly. The Press article Rob linked to above, The Business of NZ Inc, is an esential read about that.

    Pro-business changes in our local governance and resource management systems are going through now for the whole country. Auckland and ECan were just the beginning. This was coming for several years, and no, it's not the fault of citizens that we haven't heard much about it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But this leadership most definitely believes the change should be managed for you and you do not need to be consulted.

    On Maori water rights too. Good faith my arse.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Exactly. The Press article Rob linked to above, The Business of NZ Inc, is an esential read about that.

    In that thread, I invoked a term that has apparently fallen into disuse since Queensland's Sir Joh left office: white shoe brigade. Cronyism, iron-fistedness, nouveau riche crassness, loss of built heritage, you name it. Pass it on.

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

  • Euan Mason,

    Great article Bronwyn, and thanks for the link, Rob. Neoliberalism has always spoken about freedom, but freedom only for the rich and corporates is the intention. Ayn Rand would be proud. At heart it is directive, centralising and managerial. This is consistent with a removal of democratic process, an externally imposed re-organisation of schooling including charter schools that aren't required to have real teachers, imposed access to irrigation water for business without due consideration of environmental effects, and a Claytons ETS.

    I am so sick and tired of "earthquakes!!!" being used as an excuse to turn our city into a neo-liberal playground. It's past its use by date. Enough already.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I should say not only am I grateful for this article but also for the NZ Inc story. Both crystallise what is going in in this city and this country.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    Do we all get the threat to local self determination posed by the recent Nat reform of the legislation? As in, local government has no role in social issues?

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I die a little inside sometimes when I look at the comments on news websites from people bitching at say Lianne Dalziel, asking why she can’t be more supportive of the recovery effort and accusing her of just being out for herself.

    Really? That's just ... weird.

    In a more fair-minded and humane post-disaster NZ, 'weird' would be a reasonable reaction to the kind of crude but organised clobbering machine directed at those who'd challenge the autocracy. Unfortunately it's very much the normal order of business. As the only remaining local opposition MP who hasn't been effectively cowed, Dalziel is consistently singled out as a particular threat.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Of course everybody (at Public Address one presumes)) thought it was just great that Ecan (or as it was known further South Ecan't) was a democracy that allowed the population base of Christchurch to interfere in the lives of people who lived in North Otago a 180 kms away. A different province with different loyalties and different problems
    And as proof there is a Court case at the moment which revolves around the regranting of water rights that stretched over 10 years and a ratcheting of fees by huge amounts. Ecan was dysfunctional writ large make no mistake about that!

    As for the anti democratic dealing with Chch and its problems lets not forget that everybody over the age of 18 has a right to change the government every three years

    Something they already have not done once despite the carping of the Labour MPs

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    As for the anti democratic dealing with Chch and its problems lets not forget that everybody over the age of 18 has a right to change the government every three years

    Sorry that's silly. The people of Christchurch can only change the government in proportion to their population, which is about 1/10 of the total.

    Regardless, that ability to vote in central elections doesn't justify the central government removing elected local representatives and the elections that put them in place. The people of Canterbury had the ability to remove those representatives via vote already if they chose.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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