On the Trotter (An Aucklander tells Chch how to do Democracy)

Chris Trotter in The Press and on his blog Bowalley Road is wringing his hands today over the delay to local Chch democracy.

This National-led Government has overturned your democratic rights for a second time – to barely a murmur of protest.”

The reason is, that Cantabs haven’t noticed that ECan is gone, they’re so busy on the phone to AIG or shoveling liquefaction. Many of us have moved to Australia, Nelson, Auckland and Southland.

A republic, if you can keep it. Roughly translated from the Latin, res publica means ‘this thing of ours’. Franklin knew what many New Zealanders appear to have forgotten: that democracy is not, and must never become, someone else’s game; a spectator sport.”

Except that the Governmental decision to delay the next Regional Council election is by a democratically elected Govt that is up for review in 2014, and whose decisions can be revisited.

“This thing of ours. This arrangement we have worked out among ourselves. This set of rules we have devised to keep us free, and to prevent the high and mighty from traducing our rights, making off with our property and turning us into slaves. This is the most valuable thing we, as ordinary New Zealanders, possess.

High ground indeed, remember Helen Clark and the Electoral Finance Act (2007)?

“And if we allow ‘this thing of ours’ to become ‘that thing of theirs’, then all our constitutional guarantees and safeguards are rendered useless – and we are lost. 

All our laws are “that thing of theirs” because we have chosen parliamentary democracy which is by representation. Our laws are determined by a House of Reprsentatives. It feels to me like Chris Trotter is feeling Being-in-Opposition fatigue.

“Apart from the passivity of Canterbury’s people…

We are not passive.  In May 2011 more than 100,000 ideas for the rebuild of Christchurch were submitted by the public at the Share an Idea expo. We have a city-wide City Council election in under a year, and the citizens of this fair Region are busy with the details of determining their new city (NZ’s second largest) in partnership with an intricate, multi-layered and highly consultative range of governing bodies led by CERA made up of its own people.  Have a click through these links from the CCC public website.

Here’s a cool pre-earthquake quote Chris may not have seen: “The Strategy was created through a three-year long consultation and development process initiated in 2004 due to rising concerns over the lack of collaborative planning and leadership to manage growth in the area in a sustainable way. Community consultation undertaken by the Strategy partners resulted in over 3,250 submissions on growth management options for the area.”

“In the interests of Canterbury’s progress, and to protect the gains the commissioners have made, the Government has decided the best option is to continue with the current governance arrangement.’ Note, particularly, the use of the word ‘governance’.” 

That’s right Chris, its called “parliamentary government” and is principally concerned with governing New Zealand on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and Her subjects.

“Most people assume ‘governance’ is simply a dandified version of ‘government’…‘Governance’ is the word used by those who seek to curb and control the naturally obstreperous and decidedly messy processes of democratic government. 

What rubbish. Every parent on a School Board of Trustees understands what “goverance” means…overseeing the “messy processesof a school, managing its money for the benefit of those whom they represent.

“Canterbury’s current ‘governance’ has, therefore, some important questions to answer. 
What, precisely, is the nature of ‘the gains’ that its Government-appointed commissioners have made? 

What gains did we get after 20 years of ECan, Chris?  That’s why we as a public accepted change engineered by our parliamentary-elected majority Coalition Government.

“Cantabrians might well ask. They might also ask which individuals and groups have benefited most from the ‘progress’ Canterbury’s appointed rulers have (allegedly) been making?” 

Conspiracy theory…the nefarious “self interest groups” [no, I don’t mean Unions with their Secret Ballots] all getting their back-handers, something we learned a lot about after nine years of hard Labour; you only have to look at the rates of Labour-appointed public company directorships, and appointments to the UN, to see who benefited most.

“And by what right central Government continues to deny the citizens of the Canterbury region access to the machinery of self- government, and the democratic authority to determine their own future?” 

This is drivel. There is a city-wide Ward election in 2013; and a full NZ election in 2014. It is perhaps also worth reflecting that this Govt has just handed the ownership of the Urewera National Park over to the people of Tuhoe, hardly “a malign constitutional experiment upon [an] exhausted population,” to quote Chris Trotter.

About coNZervative

A blog about politics, life, culture, literature, music and thought from Christchurch, New Zealand [NZ] (the home of 10,000 earthquakes since 4 Sept. 2010) built because of the bullying and cajoling of Liberal opinion-makers (journalism and Hollywood) against conservative-minded people who are as entitled to opinion and a perspective as anyone; and because Conservativism has served the world well. John Stringer is a New Zealander (Christchurch) in his 50s married to an American from Taco Bell; they have 5 adult children in 3 diff. countries. John is an ex-Anglican pastor, a teacher, published author (NZ), novelist (USA) and cartoonist (Aust, NZ), and has spent the last 25 years in NZ politics with the National party (he was a parliamentary candidate in 1999). There was a stint in London working for the British Conservative party as well, where he did media minding and campaign work with several Brit cabinet ministers, including Baroness Thatcher, Baroness Blatch, Michael Howard, Tom King, among others. He has an MA (classical studies, Victoria); is a graduate of the New York Film Academy; and has various awards for writing. His passions include British bulldogs, fly fishing, and history (Ancient and WWII). Winston Churchill was mainly a “Conservative” but also a “Liberal” MP between 1900-1964. A Member of Parliament for 64 years, he contested 21 parliamentary elections (for Oldham, Manchester North West, Dundee, and Epping/Woodford). Throughout his career Churchill stood for liberty. He believed in open debate and freedom of speech, and opposed any system or ideology that tried to dictate the way one should think. Churchill felt deeply that disagreements within the democratic system should not degenerate into personal animosities. RIDER: This site is not connected to nzconservative, a Catholic site, or NZ Conservative Party, although from time-to-time I share some of the views espoused by both groups and other sites I follow, as published; I am an independent thinker and blogger.
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9 Responses to On the Trotter (An Aucklander tells Chch how to do Democracy)

  1. coNZervative says:

    Jen and Jan, you should get together.

  2. coNZervative says:

    Bewildered. The article lists several links that outline in detail the practical and actual consultation taking place. They are just a few examples, which I think kinda answered your point.

    • Bewildered says:

      Your blog in no way answers my questions, and that it just a typical side step the issue stance, that has become so common by the current govt.

  3. Jen Stronger says:

    Do you think there will be a lot of Cantabrians frustrated with paying rates but not having a say in local governance?

    • coNZervative says:

      I think we’re having a huge say, as outlined in the piece. Massive Rebuild consultation; 2013 electons, 2014 elections; community boards; I don’t feel unconsulted in Chch.

      • Bewildered says:

        I think you are deluded if you believe that there is huge consultation occurring in the Canterbury region.

        There is minimal to no consultation occurring in regards to the rebuild. The CER Act requires only very little consultation of the public, also there are no requirements in the Act for the concerns of the public to be shown regard to.

        The 2013 elections are for Christchurch City Council and the other district councils in the are, and not the Canterbury Regional Council, a body that taxes the region, therefore there is taxation without representation.

        The 2014 elections are for the national government, not regional government. And in the current era of neo-liberalism should not affect local authority mandates.

        And community boards and no power, they do not tax the public; they are a form of tokenism and placation as expressed by Arstein.

      • Bewildered says:

        no reply?

  4. Jan Strunger says:

    Ecan is gone? news to me

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