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Exposed democracy – is Christchurch just more obvious?

  • February 2nd, 2012

National is lucky that Mayor Bob and his greedy side-kick are taking the flak that could have been heading the way of all authority in light of the paralysis created by 'we know best' authority. I doubt that Mayor Bob, and Christchurch Council are much worse than most other territorial authorities in New Zealand.

It is just that the earthquake has crystallised all and exposed what is wrong with local government , under a combination of stresses that left no room to hide. Since 2002 when it was granted 'general competence' (power constrained only by the requirements to consult – generally with whingers who love weilding power over their neighbours, or have nothing better to do) local government has taken on all the powers of a parent. 

The decentralised initiative that made countries rich, which protected property rights and individual freedoms (and responsibilities and liabilities) is never more valuable than in the face of overwhelmingly complex problems. At such a time central planners, terrified of hindsight criticism and armed with the excuse of the  'precautionary principle' can stifle everyone but the most determined or the most powerful. They can never know enough at once to liberate the energy waiting to burst out from ordinary people in reconstruction and fresh starts.

So everyone is made dependent waiting for permissions and certainty that rarely comes.

There is no evidence that National thinks its own principles matter here, so they are lucky  they have Marryatt to distract everyone with a demonstration of arrogant privilege.

posted in December on the first public speculation that central government might displace the Christchurch Council, having previously taken control of ECan.  I'd heard in August of desperation messages from senior Christchurch to Wellington about the leaderless red tape loopiness.

It seems that Sir Kerry Marshall is not the 'review authority' contemplated by s254 of the Local Government Act but he might morph into one.  

He has the experience to knock heads together. But will he have the vision to point to the real problem? That is  – a mission statement and powers for local government that suck it into such huge interference with citizens that it will always attract bossy  incompetents. It will always drive to despair the can-do successful businessmen and farmers who once dominated Council service for only nominal payment.  

Nick Smith's release says:

"The role of the Crown Observer will be to rebuild good professional relationships between the Mayor, Councillors and staff and to provide guidance on how they can effectively govern at this challenging time.

"The Crown Observer will help the Council address widely-held concerns that its decision making and governance roles are becoming dysfunctional. 

 "These failings cannot be left to undermine the valuable recovery work the Council is doing.  I hope that by working with the Crown Observer, the Council will make any consideration of further Government intervention in the Council unnecessary,"

Good luck Sir Kerry, and Dr Smith



This post a cut and paste from Word file  .. please forgive if we get display problems 
 You are correct Stephen when you point out that extraordinary circumstances have politicised  Christchurch people and shaken us from our lethargy.      
The results of  the 2007 local body elections Christchurch were announced on a Thursday and before new Councillors could arrive on Monday,      Bob Parker  and Tony Marryatt had wrapped up a deal to buy the old central Post Office building on Hereford street for an effective $150 million dollars.     This was and is still half owned by Ngai Tahu.   
Costs upfront were  about $60 million dollars  and lease of the other Ngai Tahu ownership share $60 million at such usary rates [15%]  …  Add in enormous renovation overspending and  it made the deal costs around  $150million dollars .                They flirted with the public that it was the most eco friendly building ever, but it was the most expensive building metre by metre in the history of renovation in NZ.
 The idea was to dupe the public that only $60 million had been spent. The whole deal was referred to as urgent to the level consultation with Councillors and public had to be waived.    In fact the old Post Office had been sitting there for ages and nobody was interested .    In one stroke Bob Parker and Marryatt showed they were to be profligate, secretive and dishonest.          Profligate because anyone  could have bought the building for $100 million, by saying that's it Ngai Thau that's our offer, take it or leave it.        Dishonest because Parker misled us as to the costs and pretended urgency and now nobody  can find the real costs in the books .                               Secretive because nobody heard a thing till the deal was done.                   Secretive still because Councillors of Christchurch City, even Chairs of Committees find out what's happening by reading the Press.                Profligate still because Parker and Marryatt  throw future generations of money at anything on whim, and without our agreement.
 This way of operating has became the mode of the  Bob and Tony show as we call it, it is the norm, and it refuses our opinion .   
But the last Mayor also effectively ended his career over a would be disastrous move. This was the intended closing down of some  the libraries.  Gary Moore back tracked as fast as he could, but the damage was done.   We have twenty libraries in and around Christchurch would you believe and we were not interested in Gary closing any of the libraries at all.    Gary was toast from then on, leaving the door open for the slippery pretty boy Parker and his man Marryatt.
 But Parker unlike Gary Moore is also stupid. To read his grandiose idea about light rail in this City is to realise he is profoundly unrealistic and dangerous.   Any examination of light rail overseas showed that that travel method is totally unsuited to Christchurch.  [ Cost, population, geographical structure ]    
After his infamous start Parker continued his spending spree on various whims ranging from the Henderson fiasco  [divided idiotic land purchases into parcels to avoid consultation]   to the Ellerslie flower show spend up at nearly twice its value .   And  it was Marryat who introduced himself to every subsidiary committee in Christchurch and considers himself first Councillor  who has enraged the city as well.
Parker has what we call an A team Councillors. They get the directorships and the gravy train.calls at their door.   And after a relentless  show of hands against the arrogance displayed  in the Press the other day  Tony and Bob spend another $80,000  for a  propaganda piece called effective communication.
This expenditure on communication without even telling the   Council.
Questioned about all this secrecy .. Here is Parker himself from inside his hermetically sealed cocoon :
 What secrecy   What decisions ?  I don't believe its a reality 

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