That CV’s almost looking complete and we’ve been loving the baubles and celebrity of a weekend with the Windsors. Milk it baby.
John Key has come away not only learning that you address a baby as “Sir”, but more committed to keeping the monarchy and changing the flag. He’s even invited the Cambridges over at our expense – very good of him.
But in that article is a very revealing quote:
“I don’t think New Zealand should rush to become a republic. It may happen one day, but I can’t for the life of me see the benefits of it other than you get to spend a lot of money electing heads of state as opposed to the government appointing one.”
Now apart from the obvious that becoming a republic doesn’t require a popularly elected head of state (a super-majority of the house to elect a President to ensure a “non-political” figure is one option used), this is yet another slip of Key’s true instincts – and they ain’t democratic.
Democracy is just a cost.
The same instincts are there in denying the point of the Keep Our Assets referendum – why spend $9 million on democracy just because more than 340,000 people said so?
Indeed the reality is not just that it is expensive, with Nick Smith’s and David Carter’s comments on ECan we know that National are worried not just about the cost but that voters might make the “wrong decisions.” So this round of local elections the people of Canterbury will not be trusted to get it right for a second time. Best just let Key & co handle it – they know better than you what your needs are.
But then with CERA it’s a lot more than just democratic rights they can feel free to override.
In Auckland we’ve seen the anti-democratic tendency in their implementation of the super-city. Most of the power and spending is locked up in untouchable CCOs. Even the method of rates calculation (being used against Len Brown by those right of centre) was decided on from on-high. Hell, to reduce the cost they decided to take the local out of local government and have councillors covering many more people than MPs by only having 20 of them for 1.5 million people.
Indeed all across local government they are looking to hoover up power and decision-making centrally, breaking the principle that those most affected should get to make the decisions. New Zealand was the most centralised nation in the OECD before they decided to overhaul local government and reduce their remit (and make it easier to chuck the locals out on a minister’s whim).
At least we can give them marks for consistency, with their abuse of urgency meaning people have missed opportunities to improve bills in select committee, and the whole spirit of the GCSB & TICS bills favouring police state over privacy.
Fortunately they won’t be able to cancel the major bit of democracy in 2014, when we get to vote in people who actually want to listen to us – even if we might not make the “Right” decision.