web analytics

Ominous Trickles before the Flood

Written By: - Date published: 5:35 pm, April 5th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: local government, national/act government - Tags: , ,

The attack on democratic local government is taking shape in the public domain.

1. Hide was not made the Minister of Local Govt for nothing. Radical changes are planned and National chose an ACT Party frontman to deflect public reaction. The Bill about to be introduced, and likely passed, to ‘cap rates at the rate of inflation’ will cripple councils ability to fund essential new projects and is clear evidence of the agenda.

2. The opportunity created with another round of amalgamation to create ‘super-cities’ whose governance is accessible only by those with wealthy backers. Already we have an established history of these right wing councils looking to sell assets such as airports whenever they can.

3. The technical advisory committee to the govt on RMA streamlining has come up with the ‘surprising’ suggestion to axe Regional Councils. Imagine my shock, again the Nat cabinet is using other entities to ‘Hide’ it’s real agenda. Most Regional Councils manage important public functions and are fat targets for selling off major parks, water and transport assets worth many tens of billions of dollars. In general these will be handed over into Council Controlled Organisations (CCO’s) that neatly packages them into saleable entities.

4. A lobby group calling itself ‘Water New Zealand’ is promoting water metering. Metering is a nonsense. The cost of water supply is 90% fixed overheads, reducing demand does little to reduce the total costs, therefore in the long run the price/unit has to go up in response. The sole purpose of metering is to use public funds to ready the asset for sale. (Potential private owners don’t want to have to spend a lot of money installing meters.)

‘No Asset Sales in our First Term’…. because it will take National about that long to get them ready and neuter the opposition.

12 comments on “Ominous Trickles before the Flood”

  1. Greg 1

    I don’t get the big issue with water metering. It seems like a win, win. Even if 90% of the costs are fixed overheads, that still leaves households that choose to with an ability to save. Its the small stuff that counts right?

    Furthermore, the user pays scenario will mean we use less water. You’d change your habbits a bit if you could save money right? Thats good for the environment – less dams, less worry about water shortages etc etc.

    I would have thought the greens would love this proposal?

    • RedLogix 1.1

      It only seems like a win-win on the surface. I’ve explained it in more detail up in “Your Water Footprint”.

      It actually makes no sense from either a fairness nor value for money point of view. There are plenty of equally effective ways to save water, many of which cost much less to implement.

      Worse still, overseas experience with meters is quite perverse, especially with private providers. Once meters are installed, demand drops, but because the costs are fixed, the price/unit has to rise. Which causes demand to drop again…. you quickly get locked into a death spiral until you hit the steep inelastic part of the demand curve (about 120 litres/person/day in developed nations). At that point a monopoly supplier can pretty much charge what it likes, because no matter how high the price per unit you have to pay it. Soon everyone wonders why the hell, like the electricity system, we ever ‘commercialised’ it.

      If you think I exaggerate the rapaciousness of capitalist enterprise to act in this way, have a think about the behaviour that has directly led to the financial crisis we are plunging into.

  2. Gooner 2

    Capping Rates to inflation + population change is a necessary requirement or else the ‘Super City’ will treat ratepayers as a money printing machine. It’s absolute rubbish to argue it will ‘cripple’ councils ability to fund projects. Their are countless alternative funding mechanisms with local council bonds being a favourite of mine. The biggest capital expenditure of most councils is roading and Labour already introduced the northern tollroad: a Transit initiative admittedly but there is nothing wrong with tolling local roads also.

    What a shrilly post.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Their are countless alternative funding mechanisms with local council bonds being a favourite of mine.

      Sure, but it’s still not free money. The bond has to be repaid with interest eventually. That still has to come come from rates eventually.

      but there is nothing wrong with tolling local roads also.

      So all you are doing is trading off rates for tolls. As with water supply, the so-called ‘user pays’ model for roading is much weaker than expected. A road does not just benefit the actual user, but those who benefit from lower congestion elsewhere, and everyone who utilises freight services directly or indirectly. It’s a nonsense to think that any given road exists in isolation. They are all really part of a much larger network that we all benefit from.

      Besides you may want to consider Maurice Williamson’s fate before advocating road tolls too enthusiastically.

  3. gingercrush 3

    Welcome to The Standard Team Redlogix. I always think your replies to other authors have been excellent and no doubt your posts will add to The Standard. Of course I completely disagree with you on this issue. But I’m sure you’ll have interesting comments to make in the future.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      GC,

      Thanks. I doubt I will be as prolific as other better established authors, but it’s going to be a challenge keeping up.

      And unlike many right wing commenters who can do nothing better than carp and troll, you’ve earned respect here for putting up some decently thought through arguments.

    • agreed GC, welcome to the Standard RL.
      you’ve long been a superb commenter so I really hope you enjoy your posting here.

  4. Tigger 4

    Who are Water New Zealand? I see from their links page that there are a lot of people they appear to think are ‘releven’t but there aren’t any environmental organisations that they consider worthy of a link…so who are they working for? I couldn’t make heads of tails of their site – what do these people actually do?

  5. randal 5

    the thing is that nodbody is talking about is how many services will be privatised and gobbled up by new “OWNERS”!

  6. Joshua 6

    Welcome Redlogix, I’m glad to see you’ve joined the list of contributors for The Standard.

    Some interesting points you make about Local Government, which could get rather scary for the future of local democracy and also environmental protection. I agree that Regional Councils are a very critical part of local government in the enviornmental protection roles they fulfil. It would be pretty shocking to see them disbanded in any shape or form. The loss of the ARC through the creation of the super-city is definitely something that will have to be carefully managed so we don’t completely lose the benefit they bring Auckland.

    I have said before that a very important role the ARC plays is that of “environmental advocate”. You have a look at any plan change, large resource consent application or new district plan around and the ARC have probably made a big submission upon it. That submission will be very cleverly thought out and well articulated. The local council will take it on board and generally makes a significant number of changes directly because of the ARC’s submissions. Who is going to fulfil that role in the super-city organisation? I can’t imagine the Auckland Council will be quite so forthright in submitting against its own plans and I can’t see it taking itself to the environment court to ensure the best interests of the environment are taken into account in the formation of a plan or plan change.

    For example, fairly recently it was the ARC who joined in an Environment Court appeal against the demolition of Building 5 at Greenlane Hospital, after an initial demolition consent was granted by Auckland City Council. How would that have happened in a super-city structure?

  7. insider 7

    If 90% of the cost of water is the fixed costs, then that implies to me that you want to do all you can to defer building new infrastructure. In that way price could be really important to drive efficiency of use to maximise use of existing infrastructure. No pricing signal to me would tend to hide the cost of water supply so you end up overbuilding and absorbing far higher costs than you otherwise might.

  8. jcuknz 8

    The trouble with councils is that they are run by do-gooding staff who sitting on a good if not exhorbitant salary have no appreciation of the problem that rate payers have in increasing rates above the reasonable inflation and population increase rate which is a reasonable burden … although their income doesn’t rise to match inflation rises let alone the foolish dreams of council staffers. All power to Rodney.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    15 hours ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    2 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    3 days ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    3 days ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 days ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    3 days ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    4 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    4 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    4 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    4 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    5 days ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    5 days ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    5 days ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    6 days ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    6 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    7 days ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    7 days ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    7 days ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    7 days ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    7 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    1 week ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    1 week ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    1 week ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    1 week ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Voters to have the final veto on paid parental leave
    New Zealanders will have the final right of veto on a Government that has ignored democracy and is out of touch with the pressures and demands on families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Today’s decision by National to veto 26 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Collins should put Kiwis’ money where her mouth is
    Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash is calling on anyone who has received a speeding ticket for going up to 5km/h over the 100km/hr open road speed limit to write to him and he will take it up on their behalf ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the leadership on equal pay for work of equal value?
    The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ real disposable income goes nowhere for the year
    New Zealanders’ hard work for the last year resulted in no increase in real disposable income, showing Kiwis aren’t getting ahead under National, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Today’s GDP figures reveal that real gross national disposable income per ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pora case a case to learn from
    Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to start again with RMA changes
    The National Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act have attracted more than 800 submissions, many of them critical of key aspects of the Resource Legislation Bill. There has been much criticism of the new regulation making powers given ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • Bennett’s briefing completely unacceptable
    It is completely unacceptable that Paula Bennett briefed her political staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis after her meeting with him, despite it having nothing to do with her social housing portfolio, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to Green Building Council
    Building smarter, greener cities It will be clear to anyone who has been watching the public debate on the housing crisis that housing in New Zealand is sadly far from being economically sustainable when Auckland has the fourth most unaffordable ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paula Bennett has more questions to answer
    It is unthinkable that Paula Bennett’s press secretary went rogue and tried to smear the reputation of someone involved in helping the homeless, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Political staff would not take such serious unilateral action without the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech on Notice of Motion on Orlando
    Mr Speaker, The Labour Party joins with the government in expressing our horror at this atrocity and our love and sympathy are with the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and of the United ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiakina Ngā Wai – Swimmable Rivers Report June 2016
    The campaign to clean up our rivers was launched at the Green Conference at Queens Birthday weekend. However, the work prior to the launch goes back a number of years. Russel Norman and Eugenie Sage deserve full credit for the ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere