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
Hon MARK BURTON (Minister of Local Government) on behalf of the Minister with responsibility for Auckland Issues: The Government is working in collaboration with
Aucklandcouncils on governance arrangements, because it is committed to promoting ’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. Auckland
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,
Next week, we will see
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
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.