Monday, July 23, 2007

The Party Line

Question: What is the connection between David Benson-Pope lying to everybody again about the activities of his staffer, and rules to “enhance the transparency of campaign finance laws”?

Answer: On the face of it, nothing.

Except when you consider this.

It isn’t just Helen Clark, David Parker and David Benson-Pope who are spouting this spineless waffle. All the Ministers are, at any opportunity.

The wonks are in overdrive coming up with this shit. Throughout the public service, sustainability has become the catch-word for more money. Leading the charge is the Ministry for the Environment, with all sorts of useful advice on how to be green.

But it is everywhere. The Ministry of Economic Development--those who never actually create any economic value--tell us how to run sustainable businesses .

Thus, tourism has to become sustainable tourism. Transport, the biggest single industry contributor to carbon emissions, is obviously fronting a big chunk of the work. MAF has come up with a big body of work to look at agricultural sustainability. The Ministry of Education has advisers telling schools how they should go about building “sustainable buildings”. Te Puni Kokiri now exists to promote Maori economic transformation in an environmentally friendly way. Research into sustainability has become a key theme. All in all, there are some 22,000 pages and policy documents on government websites discussing environmental sustainability.

Evidently, it hasn't occurred to anybody in government that government itself would be a whole lot economically, and environmentally sustainable if there weren't so many fucking civil servants blowing so much precious air talking about it.

The communications units of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Development are being beefed up this year in anticipation of outrageous levels of public spending in the second half of next year on reducing energy use and environmental sustainability. Huge advertising that will echo everything that Labour has said, but done nothing about, its biggest policy platform of this term.

Millions upon millions of taxpayers’ money will be spent by government departments preaching Labour’s dying gasps of office. As a voter, you simply won’t be able to tell the difference between a Helen Clark advertisement for Labour, and a Helen Clark advertisement for sustainability. You will be overwhelmed with so much crap on television telling you to turn off your lights, drive more slowly, wear warmer clothes, shit less often, and swimming to Australia rather than flying Emirates, that you will be oblivious to the noise of any other kind of advertising on television. Except for the one with Jonah, that tells you that you should keep on watching telly and rack up more energy use, and not pay your power bill.

Because the Government hopes that by making a whole lot of noise about what you should be doing to drastically change your lifestyle, you will lose sight of the fact that on sustainability issues, the Government hasn’t actually achieved anything. Transport emissions have flatlined because of rising international oil prices: not because Labour’s done some grand and brilliant thing to magically make people more efficient. Agricultural emissions have climbed. Industrial energy consumption has grown with economic growth. As the government has hired tens of thousands more civil servants to huff and puff their way through analysis, so too does the Crown’s carbon footprint now need a much larger shoe.

The Government also wants you to forget in election year that the one tool that industry has to mitigate its carbon emissions—planting trees—has been wiped out by a greedy, tax-addicted government that is not just confiscating forestry carbon credits from industry, but also penalises foresters for not planting trees in the first place. It is the great nationalisation of forestry by any other name. The result of it is that there are fewer new trees being planted now than in several generations. New Zealand’s forestry stock is smaller now than fifty years ago.

You won’t hear that next year, because this Labour government doesn’t actually care about the reality. To ensure that you don’t hear about the reality of what is happening in the forestry industry, Labour, through Mark Burton, is introducing a piece of legislation banning the forestry industry from promoting its message next year, under the guise of restricting “third party advertising”.

You won’t hear from industry affected by Labour on its all-talk, no-action sustainability message. You won’t hear the contradictions, because only the Government, through its stupendous public information campaigns, will be telling you their side of the story.

The astonishing reality is that the reason David Benson-Pope and Helen Clark needed Madeleine Setchell out of her critical role at the Ministry for the Environment was not because they don’t trust her neutrality. On the contrary, they trust Satchell’s neutrality too much. The last person they need managing the Government’s biggest re-election spend-up is a person who might actually exercise a degree of impartiality and objectivity.

Not at all. For this kind of crusade, Labour needs somebody much more partisan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Miss Piggy in Pink

Hot on the heels of Labour’s back-down on the Therapeutic Medicines Amendment Bill, there is no good news that Labour’s fortunes will improve in the next six months. Instead Labour is setting itself up for further electoral humiliation by treating taxpayers and democracy alike with contempt.

Mark Burton is a bumbling failure, and waste of political space. October’s local body elections are fast approaching, yet the Local Government Minister presides over a portfolio that has done nothing to radically reduce the unconscionable waste that Auckland’s civic leaders are engaging in. Instead of fixing Auckland’s not inconsiderable problems, Burton responds in the House today with this stunning piece of bureaucratese:

Hon MARK BURTON (Minister of Local Government) on behalf of the Minister with responsibility for Auckland Issues: The Government is working in collaboration with Auckland councils on governance arrangements, because it is committed to promoting Auckland’s future as a world-class, internationally competitive city region. Key elements of this work include a stronger regional governance structure, an overarching regional strategic plan—that is, a “one plan”—and the regional sustainable development forum to develop such a plan.

He says nothing about capping rates, eliminating tracts of public servants who populate the seven local authorities in Auckland, or anything remotely concerning local electors in Auckland: good water systems, good roads, and a transparent and understandable, unified resource management and building structure.

The problem isn’t that Mark Burton is lazy. Instead, Burton is distracted. He has set his sights on silencing opposition to the Labour Party’s more extreme activities, and the moves to squash anybody who disagrees with the Labour Party take much higher priority than reforming the mindless garbage that is local government in New Zealand generally, and local government in Auckland in particular.

Next week, we will see Burton introducing the Electoral (Small Party Bribery and Labour Party Enemy Gagging) Amendment Bill into the House. The Bill will have two parts.

The first part will reallocate the taxpayer-funded slush account that determines how much of your money that political parties can blow during an election campaign on television advertising. The broadcasting allocation model that the Government proposes is a classic example of pork-barrel MMP politicking. In exchange for the support of the Greens, United Future, New Zealand First, and Progressive, Labour will give them a larger share of a bigger pool of broadcasting money to campaign at the next election.

This move is nothing short of corruption. The Labour Party clearly hasn’t listened to voter outrage at how they stole public money at the last election to pay for their campaign: they are extending the model again to give more money to their friends.

The broadcasting allocation model doesn’t need reform. It needs to be scrapped entirely. The model is an anachronism of two-party first-past-the-post electioneering. The only acceptable reform is to remove the funding source entirely, and raise the thresholds of party campaign spending, to allow each of the political parties to spend their own money on television advertising.

The second part of the Bill is even more insidious: it places draconian limits on how much third parties can spend advertising their positions. The Government calls this the “Exclusive Brethren clause”. That is bullshit. In reality, it limits the amount any third party can spend on any measure.

Let’s take the recent example of the well-organised opposition to the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill. My own view is that the legislation was a no-brainer. I find it staggering that such a trifling little move as applying the same regulations to voodoo remedies as pharmaceutical remedies stirred so much public debate. In the end, Health Minister Annette King blundered, and allowed voodoo science to mount much better arguments against the legislation than she could.

Yet that is political debate in action. Annette King’s performance was a political experiment rivalling Dr Bunsen Honeydew in incompetence.

To appropriately extend the Muppet analogy even further, Mark Burton has turned himself into Sam the Eagle of New Zealand politics. Having failed to win the argument on supplementary medicines, the Government now wants to ensure that there is no further opposition from interested parties on future legislation. Burton will try and ram this act of political censorship through under urgency.

And there’s a good reason why it wants to do it.

Labour’s problem is that it has left its legislative agenda too late to hold honest, open discussions and bed policies down before the election. As Idiot Savant notes, In November, on the eve of election year, the Government will introduce its policies on climate change.

A big chunk of the policy will involve hammering the forestry industry by placing impenetrable penalties on cutting down trees. Not only do forest owners miss out on the carbon credits that the Government confiscates from them: they will be thrashed for not creating the carbon credits in the first place.

Understandably, foresters are pissed off. So too are the thousands of mum and dad investors who ferreted away a proportion of the money that the government hasn't yet extorted from them as a savings vehicle, only to have it compromised after the fact by a Government that concerns itself more with punishing productive business than creating wealth for New Zealand.

On their behalf, forest owners will launch a major campaign expressing their position. The Labour Party does not want voters to hear the forestry industry’s arguments on the cusp of an election year, because they know they simply no longer has the political capital to win the small arguments, let alone the big ones.

This has nothing to do with "evening the playing field" of democracy. No single lobby group has anything like the power and authority of central government. Cabinet Ministers individually have whole swarms of press secretaries and policy analysts to mount the best arguments. If the combined resources of the $60 billion state cannot beat a $1 million advocacy campaign by a lobby group, then that speaks wonders about the paucity of the state's ideas. There is no place in a civil society for eliminating the competition for ideas in debate.

The last thing the Labour Party needs going into an election year is to lose the major debate about its major platform of its third term: sustainability. Its only means of winning the debate is by using the coercive power of the government to silence other views.

It’s time to play the music, and bring down the curtain on this muppet show of a regime.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Did Sneaky Tony Get The Lawyer's Call?

Whale-Oil highlights a sneaky change from Labour Party national councillor, and left-wing Christchurch city council aspirant Tony Milne on Tony's website.

Mustering the kind of bitchiness that only the radical left can manage, Tony referred to certain nasty "rumours" surrounding Christchurch Mayoral front-runner Bob Parker.

A sneaky revision of Tony's post deleted the reference, but he didn't remove an admonishing comment from innocentIII, tut-tutting Tony for reverting to socialist type.

Why did Tony remove the venomous remark? Was it simply an attempt to clean up his own behaviour, or did he get a call from Parker's lawyers threatening a defamation action?

Naughty boy, Tony. You should know by now that if you aspire to becoming a public figure, and you're going to engage in mud-slinging, you don't put yourself on the wrong side of litigation. The Labour Party just doesn't have enough money to bail you out.

Slightly new look...

Slightly new look to the site. Mainly 'cos I wanted to include a couple of features that weren't available on the new version of blogger.

Consequently, I've got rid of most of the old links. Any readers who think they're worth adding to my links should add comments here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Peak Oil for Dummies

Over at Kiwiblog, one of the themes of resident freak commenter, Roger Gnome (a Political Science honours student at Otago who normally runs the theory that New Zealand would be much better off if all employers were exterminated, and everybody was unionised), is peak oil. Along with the apparently looming global warming crisis, the world as we know it is reaching the end of “cheap oil”. According to the theory, new oil discoveries are in decline; production from currently exploited oil fields is at its highest point, and as demand for oil increases as the global economy grows, the price of oil will massively skyrocket.

There are two general theories around peak oil: the first that an imminent crisis is upon us, that by 2010 oil demand will outstrip production and prices will increase to a point that will cause global recession. The second, less gloomy theory, is that oil production will plateau, prices will increase gradually over time, and oil and energy uses will change to divert the gloomy outlook that the peak oil theorists advance.

The major problem with the peak oil theory is that the economic assumptions that they have been stunning in their flaws. In 1974, Marion Hubbert developed the “Hubbert Peak Theory", and applied it to a range of mineral resources: natural gas, coal, and metals. His predictions have had a mixed reception: he suggested coal reserves would last another couple of centuries. His natural gas claims relied on what was initially fairly scant knowledge of natural gas reserves.

Initially the alarmists claimed oil production would peak in 1989. Hubbert calculated that oil production would reach its peak in 1995. Later, he revised his predictions to 2005. The current consensus from peak oil alarmists is that 2010 is the year when oil prices will rise so dramatically as to cause global crisis.

The reasons for the changing predictions are much more broad than the environmentalists who advocate the theory want you to know. To make accurate forecasts about oil production on the one hand, and oil consumption on the other, you need to have a clear picture of the variables. The variables include the use of technology (which determines how easily you can drill the oil out of the ground), the accuracy of estimates of oil reserves, the alternative uses of oil and its substitutes in energy production, and geopolitical factors, in both OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which have major effects on the production of oil.

Suffice to say, for the last twenty years, peak oil enthusiasts have systematically taken a pessimistic view of oil production in their estimates, for both OPEC and non-OPEC countries. While proven middle eastern reserves are generally overestimated to gain better production rights within OPEC, knowledge of existing reserves in non-OPEC countries is fairly well documented. Yet peak oil proponents using the hubbert forecasting theory have monumentally failed to accurately estimate production and reserve levels even where there is good knowledge about oil reserve levels.

The reality is that oil production is determined by demand for oil, and geopolitical factors, rather than the status of reserves. Proven oil reserves are not running out anytime soon. Production technology is improving, making it less expensive to exploit existing proven reserves. Relatively high levels of oil now have nothing to do with oil supply, but everything to do with geopolitical tensions, and OPEC’s ability to exploit those tensions to maximise their oil returns
And, as we have seen in New Zealand’s Great South Basin this week, as oil prices increase, it becomes more economically viable to exploit other oil resources at current prices. This is consistent with a global trend of additional oil supplies coming onstream, outstripping demand for oil.

So here we have a pattern over the last twenty years: peak oil enthusiasts denying the data, making henny penny predictions about oil production which never eventuate, and continuing to extend the crisis date outwards to suit their analysis. Recent peak oil alarmists have claimed variously that “peak oil” will result in energy wars, recession, starvation, and worldwide devastation.

The predictions just don’t stack up with the facts. Existing oil reserves are in a very slow decline. That goes without saying. But existing oil reserves do not equate to total reserves, particularly as prices encourage new reserves to come onstream.

There is a common theme among those who advance peak oil theory. They are almost invariably from the environmental lobby. They are not in the business of making accurate economic forecasts. If they were, their predictions of peak oil prices would have led them to invest in oil companies, and made them very wealthy if their theory panned out.

The environmentalists' solutions for this supposed peak oil cataclysm aren't based in reality, either. As with the Kyoto Protocol, the rising demand for oil isn't coming from the Western society that the green lobbies want to punish in their great leap backwards, but from China and India. The US, and the OECD generally, is consistently investing in less oil-dependent technologies anyway. Meanwhile, as the ever-choking smog clouds rise over Mumbai and Shanghai, their increasing consumption of oil been an even greater contributor to rising prices than instability in Iraq and Iran.

There is no need for panic. The environmentalists’ will to transform people’s views through scare-mongering has little to do with oil production and supply, and everything to do with their desire to punish oil companies and reducing human dependency on oil. It’s an environmental argument, and trying to produce fringe pseudo-economic petrification theories as an excuse is as dishonest as their data.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Maia-watch is, admittedly, an amusing game to play on the internet. It ranks even more highly than Idiot-watch and Jordon-watch. Here we have a trio of cloistered, fringe pinkos who have nothing better to do with their time than loathe the system that gives them the luxury and freedoms to protest.

But by far, Maia-watch is the best fun of all, because she is just such a preposterous freak. Fish in a barrel.

It is no coincidence that the New Zealand blogs that most vigilantly scream against oppression are the first blogs to ban any comments that diverge from their own views. In recent months, in turn, Maia, Jordon, Idiot, and Tony Milne have all either tightly moderated comments, or banned them entirely. So much for liberty and wanting to explore other world views.

Maia is a stunning example of the excesses of the welfare state, and how socialists have become totally disconnected with sensible New Zealand. She is a screaming, hysterical, radical feminist Marxist who can only advocate her astonishing views by leeching off the education and welfare system that capitalism affords. One of my favourite aphorisms, “there is no welfare without wealth”, is completely lost on her.

Maia is the high-tide mark on welfare system abuse. Here we have an able-bodied, reasonably intelligent, active person with some skills, in a market that is crying out for skilled labour. Instead of going to a job every day and contributing to society, Maia works as a semi-professional rent-a-crowd member. She attends every protest under the sun.

If, like Nicky Hager, she were independently wealthy and reliant on a trust fund, such social indolence could almost be tolerated. But instead, we the taxpayers of New Zealand are the trustees of Maia’s funding source, and she abuses it at every opportunity.

Take this post, in which Maia expresses adulation for American communists in the 1940s and 1950s for brainwashing their children, and causing children to play Stalinist games involving persecution. In Maia’s world, not for the first time, we see children are a conduit to ideology.

Or try this perplexing piece of trolldom, where she makes the peculiar claim that “our racist police and justice system disproportionately beat-up and lock-up Maori much more frequently than Pakeha.”

Here Maia admits that in the past she has protested at Anzac Day dawn service, and has that perennial issue of how to diminish the public's perception of soldiers' bravery. She asks how is it that we commemorate soldiers, but not people who die from illnesses. Well, duh: it does not take an act of bravery to contract typhus. It does take an act of bravery to go to war to defend your country against totalitarianism, and defend the freedoms that non-combatants, such as Maia, take for granted every day.

Maia is very vocal about rape and rapists. Here Maia defends a woman who made false rape complaints by stating that the Police take a woman-hating view of rape anyway, that rape is no more subject to false complaints than any other crime, and implies that the woman who made the false complaint was most likely crying out for help as the victim of previous abuse. In this peculiar “all men are rapists” catch-all, Maia ignores the fact that Police can only investigate actual rapes that have occurred. In Maia’s world, whenever a rape allegation is made against another man, that man should be arrested and thrown in jail, because it is highly probable that at some point he has raped a woman before, and the Police are rapists for seeing the world any differently to her.

Then we have Maia searching her own blog statistics, and seeing that somebody googled her with the terms “rape a woman” and “get away with it”. This followed Maia’s comments that men get away with rape with impunity. Her next move was to post that she is now “terrified that this man is now going to add to that number.”

And that folks, is just in the last three months. That’s excluding Maia’s bewildering paranoia earlier in the year that a toddler child she is babysitting will grow up to be a rapist.

Here Maia jumps on the fringe bandwagon again as she protests outside the Australian “Embassy” (sic) about John Howard’s plans to stop Aboriginals from abusing their children, murdering each other and wallowing in booze and drugs. Maia’s solution, apparently, is to give Aboriginals a whole pile of money to allow them to choose their own destiny (plainly ignoring that the latter has been federal Australian policy for the last thirty years, and has failed spectacularly).

And finally we have this “capitalist dogs” comment which stirred so much ridicule towards her in the blogosphere. Maia has never held down a proper job or worked in an honest occupation her whole life. She protests anything that moves. She has been brainwashed inside the respective departments of Women’s and Maori studies at Victoria University. This prejudices her against anybody who invests money in a business to create wealth.

Clint Heine held Maia to account last week, asking the quite legitimate question as to where she got the money, as a welfare beneficiary, to go to Australia to shit-stir over there. In response, one of Clint’s commenters suggested that Maia needed a dildo up her.

And then the crap really began to fly. In her own inimitable style, playing distraction-debate better than anybody out there, Maia claimed rape. Or at least, threatened rape. Not only was James, apparently, a wannabe rapist for suggesting that Maia needed a dildo, so too was Clint for allowing the comment to stand.

Thus the pinko end of the blogosphere seethed and writhed in self-flagellating ecstasy, as they found themselves the victims of attempted sexual assault. All from an initially crass comment from somebody who is prone to making crass comments.

Clint shouldn’t have to apologise to anybody in the blogosphere for the tone of one crass comment made by somebody else. There was not a single allegation of sexual abuse, and it takes an extremely warped mind to interpret the statement “get a dildo up you” as an intention to commit sexual assault.

Clint was doing no more than calling Maia to account for being a stupid, hysterical bitch who exclusively cloisters herself among people who don’t question her pathetic, taxpayer-funded anarchist lifestyle. Maia posts into the blogosphere outrageous man-hating, anarcho-communism. It is totally appropriate for Clint to ridicule her. He can’t do so on her blog, since she’s banned his comments.

It isn't because Maia is a woman that she's being held to account. It's because she's making ridiculous, stupid comments on her blog. If Maia is going to insist on posting her outrageous views, she should expect that from time to time people will call her out for being a stupid bitch. Calling her a stupid bitch is one of the many freedoms that we have in a liberty-driven, capitalist society that also allows Maia to advocate her freakish world view.

Angelfish takes Maia to task for labelling everything rape, and diminishing rape as a term. Maia responds by pointing to a post from Simon, who suggested that he would offer Maia a job in his Karangahape Road establishment. Maia claims that Simon is also threatening sexual assault, as cutting off her WINZ income by offering work in the sex industry constitutes rape.

At no point does it occur to Maia that she has broader employment alternatives, outside of WINZ. She could simply go out and get a regular job.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh, what a sordid bunch they are...

Those who have been involved in local government for a long time will tell you that it is a complex beast. Local government politicians will point to their grand plans for greater civic outcomes. They will point to every infinite activity that their council is involved in, and waffly pinko bullshit, such as “develop people and community focused policies”. That’s City Vision for you.

Their core principles are:

1. Make Auckland City Council more democratic through effective public participation and political accountability
2. Promote a diverse city that provides opportunities for participation and belonging for people from a wide range of social and ethnic backgrounds
3. Conserve our heritage, promote quality urban design and celebrate our arts and diverse cultures
4. Honour the Treaty of Waitangi and continue to strengthen our partnership with tangata whenua
5. Enhance the principles of public service in our Council through responsible social, financial and environmental approaches to the management of the city
6. Implement policies that address social and economic inequalities in the community.

Yes, that is the actual politically correct hogwash that substitutes for policy from that sorry bunch of losers. What is missing from the formula—staggeringly—is not a single commitment to delivering quality roading, water or wastewater services. Nor does CityVision make a single commitment to improving building consents or RMA processes. The touchpoints between ratepayers and local authorities—the services that ratepayers actually use from Council—are the great hole that has been lost in successive local government engagements in the last twenty years. CityVision is simply the apex of absolute disgust with which ratepayers hold local government generally. While CityVision councillors swan off overseas on exhorbitant junkets, ratepayers are seeing less and less actual service delivery. At the same time, in the last six years, local government spending—and ratepayers’ contributions—have grown a massive 60%.That kind of wanton profligacy simply isn’t sustainable.

What CityVision won’t tell you is that they hiked rates more rapidly than any other Council in Auckland history.

There is one thing that council is mandated to provide that overrides everything else in the community: basic roading, property consents process, and basic civic infrastructure.

It is here that I have reservations about supporting Citizens and Ratepayers Now in Auckland City. Yes, they are the only group in town who can make a difference. The question is, will they?

This is C&R's one chance in a generation to get Auckland City back on the right track, providing the basic civic needs of Aucklanders. They need to apply real focus and bloody-minded commitment to achieve it.

Aaron Bhatnagar has posted about some of the outlandish spending proposals of CityVision. Pet projects from drop-kick pinkos who seek to build empires to themselves are vastly wasteful, of course. It goes without saying that that kind of spending simply has to cease. But it would be a totally inaccurate picture to say that is the only thing wrong with local government.

No more sorry example of the excesses of Auckland City, and just how the city has lost its way, can be seen in the Queen Street upgrade. Queen Street used to be a busy, bustling, if slightly drab part of the city. For the last six months it has been absolute hell to drivers, pedestrians, shopkeepers, and businesspeople alike. The entire length of the street has been torn up for "improvements". All along the street are signs telling us how much better Queen Street will be once the changes are through.

Yet much of the work in Queen Street has been shabby and tawdry. From Mayoral Drive to Wellesley Street, a vast flood of water floods down the footpath when it rains, leaving pedestrians ankle-deep in water, rather than flowing into stormwater drains. The quality of the paving is appalling: poor quality workmanship paid for by a Council that does not hold its contracted services to account. Instead of working its way along Queen Street piece by piece, and focussing efforts to concentrate all the services gradually along the Street, the idiots who planned the works have successfully taken the entirety of Queen Street, and much of the CBD with it, out of action. Gallingly, so inept is Auckland City that it has produced signage announcing all of the wondrous things that the new Queen Street will provide. Including a sign announcing that a lovely new park bench will be bolted to the ground on the footpath. Cost of the signage? $4,000. Cost of the park bench? $1,000. Value of pissing off ratepayers by wasting their money advertising stupid inane shit? Priceless.

And now we have the not very surprising news that the costs of the upgrade have blown out by 100%.

A friend of mine is a manager at Auckland City. He is politically pretty left-wing, which normally discounts him from being a friend of mine. Yet I keep him around because I can berate him about the outrageous activities of Council. Three years ago, he used to put up good counter-arguments to my suggestions that Council is a wasteful pile of manure and needs fundamental change. Now the counter-arguments have ceased. He now agrees that a complete clean-out of council administration is needed. Staff turnover is running at over 30%. Council management is awash with unnecessary layers of administration that do nothing, and have no performance targets. Service delivery has declined. Large tracts of bureaucrats exist simply to promote their own projects, and stymie others. Huge numbers of civic servants are employed to monitor a vastly increased number of external consultants. When a consultant fucks up, contracts are renewed. Nobody is ever held to account. In this environment, the few talented people are leaving in frustration, leaving even less quality behind.

Auckland City needs much more than cancelling the Left’s absurd policies. It needs a complete clean-out of civic administration, starting with the top. CEO David Rankin has to go. So too do at least eight of the twelve layers of management. All service delivery functions should be outsourced to private entities, and Council should hammer external providers to deliver what they are contractually obliged to do.

Council needs to get back to basics and focussing on its core responsibilities. I don’t want to hear about rates rises being capped at the level of inflation from Citizens and Ratepayers. That simply isn’t good enough. Auckland City Council is a fat, lazy, bloated dog full of cancer. It needs to be put down. Council staffing could, and should, be reduced by at least thirty percent. Council functions should be restricted to fixing its roading, water, and wastewater services, and providing the best possible services to ratepayers that are not otherwise delivered to the community.

The formula isn't complex at all. Improve basic service delivery for things that ratepayers actually need. Get rid of the bullshit. Slash the local government bureaucracy. Hammer your service providers to perform. Provide strong roading, water, wastewater, and council services.

Bad management and poor civic administration has flourished under Dick Hubbard’s council because left-wing councillors simply do not have a grip on what is happening in the city.

I hope like hell that Citizens and Ratepayers have a sweeping majority after October 13 this year. I hope also that they have the balls to carry through with the drastic reform that Aucklanders need.