Sunday, July 18, 2010

The problem with Auckland New Zealand Democracy

The issues in this country, that have developed over the last twenty years or so, are not so much 90-day "fire-at-will" employment laws. Nor are they what the top rate of tax should be or whether people should be allowed to have a drink in their own home without being penalised for some 18-year old's immaturity.

They are issues, and annoyances. But here is the real problem/issue with this country:

FROM ONE Tree Hill, to None Tree Hill, to Nine Tree Hill...

As the rest of New Zealand sniggers over Auckland's inability to sort itself out over a Party Central for next year's Rugby World Cup, spare a thought for the iconic symbol of the city.

Replacing the Monterey pine that once stood famously on Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) for more than 120 years has taken more than a decade, and the Auckland City Council now has a secret stash of more than 100 possible replacement trees.

But any replacement will now need the approval of the incoming super-city council and a North Island iwi collective.

That could involve consultation with ratepayers from Franklin to Rodney, and 12 iwi groups from the Coromandel to Warkworth.

Now known to some as None Tree Hill because it has taken so long to get agreement about what to plant and when, the treeless volcanic cone is seen as a symbol of Auckland's inability to do anything.

Nine years ago the city council and Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua had an agreement to plant a grove of six pohutukawa and three totara at the summit – Nine Tree Hill.

But since then Ngati Whatua has passed the mantle to a new iwi collective, and the plan has been frozen until treaty claims are settled, which would be March at the earliest.

By then the new Auckland council will be in place, and could throw out the deal altogether.

That's worth reading again. In summary, it has taken Auckland ten years and still we cannot plant a tree on top of a mountain. Now, it appears that further "consultation" is required after Iwi have re-organised.

We find it difficult to demolish old decrepid sheds. It has taken 12 years to complete the western ring route. We divert motorways to take account of a few birds nests. And it takes us nine years (and counting) to re-plant a tree. Worse still, time has not ended.

Consultation is killing this country. There's far too much of it and far too many people poking their noses in. Elected politicians are petrified of making a decision for fear of criticism of non-consultation and The Standard putting up their Democracy Under Attack banner.

I truly hope the new Auckland councillors have some gonads.

But history says that is unlikely.


Anonymous said...

So you would rather they just did it wrong then have to redo it?

Anonymous said...

yes, because mistakes can be fixed, inaction is still inaction. Although doing nothing is an option, it results in no progress at all. Its impossible to steer a parked car, it has to start moving in order for it to get to where it ought to be.
NIMBY's and protagonists and other trough dwellers are also part of the problem. Which of those categories do you fit into Anon?


Anonymous said...

all in all you have both major parties to blame for this bollocks situation, because it was National who enacted the right of Nimbys when the passed that travesty of a law, The RMA. The single largest assault on property rights ever enacted in this country.

Gooner said...

Anon #1, did what wrong?

Plant a tree?

I cans how them how to do it if they like.

Why does it take 10 years to consult over planting a tree?

Anonymous said...

the basic design of the super-shitty was done by Hellen and Rodney hasn't fixed a thing.

We all know how to design a workable city government:
- ratepayer franchise
- executive major will pleinpotentiary planning powers

and that's it.

The single largest assault on property rights ever enacted in this country.

Dickhead. The whole point is we don't need jumped-up petit bourgeois staadholders insisting on consultation and compensation for their stupid fucking property rights!

We need councils who can draw the line on the map and send in the bulldozers. Fuck the RMA. And fuck your NIMPY "property rights" even harder!

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Sinner, if you don't mind, would you kindly exclude me from your 'we.'

The use of 'we' is the preserve of the left where individuals lack sufficient courage, common sense or wit to hold their own opinions.

Anonymous said...

anon 1745: comprehension wasn't you strong suit at school, and doesn't appear to have advanced muych since then. You argue like you are opposed to the statement posted at 1600, the position taken, to spell it out for you, is that the RMA gives the NIMBYs their perceived rights of veto over other people's property. So the RMA is the single piece of legislation in the entire book of statutes which needs urgent repeal. The result of this will be an end to all the BS consultation.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with out democracy is we end up with elected dictatorships rather than listening governments. There is too much power put into the hands of one person, and far too much idolisation.

baxter said...

I have to agree with you CONSULTATION is killing efficiency at every level. It is how-ever enriching Maori as koha, Hui and haka parties become abundant in the crawl to reach the wrong decision.

ZenTiger said...

Consultation is very important, and worthwhile.

Acting after listening is also important.

Using the first as an excuse for not doing the second would have the wrong result of ending all consultation and assuming a dictatorship is best.

What's worse though is when the government uses the results of consultation to justify what it was always going to do, then ignores it if it doesn't match what it was always going to do.

Consultation, Open government, Transparency.

Then there is no issue why we need to vote the bastards out of office as soon as possible when they fail to perform.

The Gantt Guy said...

I think the problem here is not with the fact of consultation, it is with a basic misinterpretation of the definition and concept of consultation. Consultation is vital to progress. The concept of Consultation, however, is different from the concept of "seeking permission".

In New Zealand, "Consultation" has become confused with with seeking permission from all-and-sundry groups of NIMBYs and racist separatists, often with diammetrically opposing views. If that is our definition of "consultation", then it's no wonder it's taken a decade of discussions about planting a tree.

Surely, you consult, you make a decision (which like-as-not will upset some group or other), then you get the fuck on with it. And that, my friends, is the problem with democracy; nobody wants to upset anybody in case they need them come election time.