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Reasons to vote against CERA

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, April 14th, 2011 - 77 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Gerry Brownlee, same old national - Tags:

1) the powers given to Gerry Brownlee are excessive and unchecked. Dean Knight wrote the, so far, definitive critique of the CERA law in an amazingly short period of time after the Bill was finally released to the public on Tuesday. It is damning reading: the purposes clause is so wide and vague that it is effectively unlimited, the powers that can be exercised for those vaguely defined purposes are too extensive, there’s no effective ability for people to contest Brownlee’s decisions in court because the law so limits the jurisdiction of the courts that all they can do is check that those excessive powers have been exercised in pursuit of those vague, broad purposes.

Even if Brownlee doesn’t abuse his powers (and that is an ‘if’ that citizens of a democracy should never have to rely on) CERA won’t do what is needed.

Now, Lianne Dalziel has commented that CERA is needed because the council has failed to come up with a rebuilding plan. I disagree. It has always been clear that the rebuilding plan would have to be government-led. The fact that Bob Parker is a vainglorious, preening arsehole is no reason to condemn Christhchurch and the country to the virtual dictatorship of Gerry Brownlee. The CERA bill as drafted is simply not the answer to the problems that no-one denies Christchurch is facing.

2) with such huge powers being entrusted to the government, and one minister in particular, we must be able to have complete trust in them. Has anything Brownlee has ever done instill confidence in you? He is perhaps the most high-handed and arrogant of Key’s ministers. He has shown absolutely no compunction in using his powers to their fullest extent and ignoring public opposition in the past.

Brownlee’s tendency towards secrecy was illustrated by the fact that he gave the Christchurch City Council CEO a copy of the CERA bill last week but with orders that it be kept from the elected councilors and the general public. Not to mention the insult of a select committee process we’ve just seen, where only Brownlee’s mates were invited and Christchurch councilors only found out it was happening from the media.

And look at what happened when Clayton Cosgrove commented that it looked like Brownlee was just doing the select committee for appearances and had no interest in listening to suggestions:

“The only conclusion I can draw is you’re going to do this your way. That you’re not going to take amendments seriously. “What’s the game? I would have thought you wanted detailed advice from key stakeholders.”

Mr Brownlee replied: “I don’t have a response to that. It’s an opinion. I’m not here to argue about an opinion.”

So what was he there for? A bit of PR cover so he can get on doing whatever he wants to do. Who can trust him to do the right thing?

3) Brownlee is going to make a mess of this. He is a disastrous minister. He fucks up everything he touches. He is a member of a popular government, yet he managed to raise the largest protest in a generation against his last big policy – Schedule 4 mining.

CERA is already a mess. The first guy that was tapped to lead it refused to work with Brownlee.

The progress on the ground has been rated a D by a New Zealand expert who has been involved in 17 major disaster responses. There still aren’t enough toilets. The government has twice missed its own deadlines just to announce who will build the temporary emergency housing. The Japanese have thousands of houses built already.

The word from inside National is that they expect to lose a lot of votes in Christchurch. It’s not just that people have high expectations today that are hard to meet, Brownlee is failing to meet even basic expectations. His majority will be slashed. Is the Opposition going to pick up more votes by jumping on Gerry Brownlee’s wagon as it heads for the cliff-edge or by raising principled opposition to the excesses of the CERA legislation and then offering valid criticism and alternatives as he fucks up again and again?

77 comments on “Reasons to vote against CERA”

  1. Armchair Critic 1

    1. Gerry Brownlee – Disaster Minister
    2. Go the Greens – oppose this Bill, in order to make it more workable.
    3. Fingers crossed that Labour won’t fall into the same trap they did with CERRA.  Sure, something needs to be done, but this is not good enough, and their role, as the major opposition party, is to make this Bill better.

  2. Can I urge Labour MPs to vote against this legislation.
     
    Promise to work for the rebuilding of Christchurch and to put the resources that are required.
     
    But tell the People of Christchurch that you do not have to establish a dictatorship to do so.

  3. rd 3

    What happens if the govt have a reshuffle and make Anne Tolley the CERA minister!!!

  4. Steve Withers 4

    Gerry Brownlee was made Minister of Energy and one of the first things he SAID he was going to do was look at electricity pricing.

    Today, my electricity costs me 25% more than it did a year ago. I now pay 26c a unit instead of 20c a unit…and it isn’t even winter yet. 

    Now Gerry Brownlee is looking at Christchurch. Good luck to them.

  5. Steve Withers 5

    Lanthanide: I’m with PowerShop already. Check their forward pricing. It heads North of 27 cents / unit.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Most expensive rate for pre-purchase for me is 25.40c or there-abouts. Current rates are about 23.10c.
       
      Instead of purchasing units for set periods in advance, you can actually purchase cheap power now for use later. It does have expiry dates on it, but you can buy lots of everyday power now at a cheap rate for use into the next couple of months. The strategy reverses coming out of winter – buy as little power as possible until the lower spring-time rates kick in.

  6. Rob 6

    Unfortunately my hopes are not high for people voting against. Not just because if they voted for it last time then why not this time? It means they have to admit they were wrong.

    • Carol 6.1

      Cosgrove just did a great case of exposing the shoddiness of Brownlee’s process, the lack of consultations, the unduly rushed process, the breaking of promises and meetings for consultation with Labour and others, and the unprecendented dictatorial powers the law gives him…. then said Labour would vote for the Bill…. WTF?  He qualified by saying they are keeping careful records of the process and promises by National, and will hold them to account that they do the best for the people of Christchurch.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        If Labour vote for this bill then they will lose a lot of voters trust and deservedly so. I suspect even a number of their core voters will not be voting for them this year if they support this bill.

        • Lanthanide 6.1.1.1

          It’s definitely another impetus for me to vote Green.

        • Swampy 6.1.1.2

          If Labour votes against they lose a lot of votes, is how it would turn out in the minds of Goff and his political advisers.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            Pah, not many votes left to lose, might as well stand by your principles.

      • Swampy 6.1.2

        In other words Labour would do the same if they were in  office. Afterall they did in 1941 – and got the election postponed by two years.

        • Marty G 6.1.2.1

          yeah, because World War 2 is equal to an earthquake.

          And it was a National/Labour coalition in 1941 that decided to delay the election.

    • Bright Red 6.2

      The Greens, at least, aren’t too proud to admit they were wrong last time. And this bill does go further, giving a point difference for less brave parties to point to.

  7. Bill 7

    If we had a society that incorporated effective modes of organisation, then there would be no need for CERA type proposals.
    To move beyond the dictatorial aspects of CERA for a moment, the fundamental problem would seem to be that we are a society with ineffective organisational structures.
    It strikes me that our organisations are weighted towards promoting a particular managerial perspective – one that is very good at having meetings and generating bureaucratic systems and ‘safeguards’ – that falls over when the question is one of action.
    I’m not suggesting that theoretical systems of management shouldn’t be in place. But what we have are management systems that are inadequate in situations where practical application is required.
    So for example, we get portaloos distributed on the back of phone calls received instead of on the back of the real situation. Ie, we had people tasked to deal with reality acting from an abstracted perspective. It seems obvious that our organisations promote people with more abstract or theoretical abilities; people who can operate well in a ‘talking heads’ environment, or an abstracted systems environment but who lack in areas of practical knowledge and know how.
    It’s like the office people in the Twin Towers (this may or may not have been true, but is believable) who thought they were trapped and who escaped because some guy who just happened to be there doing repairs or whatever, simply kicked through the insubstantial internal walls. The office workers, smart and intelligent as they were, didn’t have the knowledge that would allow them to consider kicking a wall in. To them, a wall was an impenetrable fact.
    So anyway, back to the point. What will Gerry do? He’ll fuck it up. He will surround himself with the same type of person who would have been promoted through the existing inadequate managerial or organisational structures. The only difference will be that him and his team will fuck it up faster ’cause they won’t have to wade through the same piles of ‘paper checks’ that the organisations already in place would have to wade through.
    The question we aren’t asking is the more fundamental one of whether our organisations are capable of serving our needs. And if they can’t, then what we can do to ensure that they do.
    I acknowledge that the consequences of the earthquakes would be difficult to deal with, regardless of the people tasked with dealing with them. But it seems we have the wrong type of person in charge, no matter whether we are looking at Gerry with his CERRA structure or bureaucrats and managers in pre-existing organisational structures.
     
     
     

  8. ChrisH 8

    The politician’s syllogism:
    1) Something Must Be Done.
    2) This is Something.
    3) Therefore This Must be Done.

  9. Samuel Hill 9

    New Zealand becoming the new Argentina?

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DrH6_i8zuffs&h=9083c

    I don’t have a Ph.D in Economics but there are some very interesting similarities.

  10. Carol 10

    Unbelievable!  The government is witholding the last minute changes from public and opposition view to the CERA Bill that is currently being rushed through parliament under urgency.  Is there no end to the contempt this government shows for democracy?!  How can anyone consider ever voting for these charlatans, let alone for CERA, if they value democracy?

    Labour this morning asked to suspend consideration of the bill because the Government had not produced the formal details of changes it was proposing. The request was denied by the chair.
    Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said it was not essential that the formal details for changes were before Parliament while the bill was in its final stages. Brownlee said parties had been given an informal summary of the changes that would be put forward in a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP).
    Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove acknowledged the summary paper but said the formal SOP was needed, so that the details were clear.
    Brownlee’s office has declined to release the summary paper, saying media would have to wait for the SOP to be tabled. Brownlee’s office has so far not explained why the summary paper will not be released and not said when the SOP will be tabled.
     
     
     

  11. Big Bruv 11

    Labour’s opposition to CERA is the most cynical and sickening thing I have ever seen in our Parliament.
    It has nothing to do with excessive powers, it has nothing to do with submitters not having the chance to be heard, this is all about Labour attempting to slow down the Christchurch recovery so they (Labour) can then attack the government about the slow pace of the Christchurch rebuild.
    Labour have done some nasty things in the last twelve years, however this would be the dirtiest, it just proves that the left in NZ has no morals, no heart and no shame.

    • r0b 11.1

      Sorry BB, no takers. Looks like you’re not going to get your trolling fix here today.

      • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1

        Heh, he sounds more like Gaddaffi everyday.

        These so called pro-democracy forces are all criminals and misanthropes, They’re all high on drugs! They’ve kids I tells ya, tricked by al-qaeda!

        • Luxated 11.1.1.1

          I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.
          Actually that is probably something Brownlee would say following an electoral defeat.

    • Bright Red 11.2

      Labour is supporting CERA, dumbarse.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      No, the passage of the bill proves that the right, which includes Labour, have no morals.

  12. Gareth 12

    Well there’s only one party voting against this law – the Green Party

    • Big Bruv 12.1

      Yes Gareth, and we all know why the Green party moonbats are against it.

      • Bright Red 12.1.1

        because they believe in democracy?

        • higherstandard 12.1.1.1

          What like the repeal of S59 of the crimes act ?

          • Bright Red 12.1.1.1.1

            s59 went through our democratic process, including select committee and itwas support by over 100 MPs, including both major parties.
            Brownlee is avout to get the power to override our democratic process at the flick of a pen.
            If you think s59 was an outrage against democracy, what do you think of law by decree?

            • higherstandard 12.1.1.1.1.1

              BR just pointing out that people will bleat that something is an outrage against democracy whenever it suits them and take an opposite position within the space of a breath.

              For the record I can scarcely give a fuck about either case.

              Brownlee’s a lazy slug without the nouse to do much apart from talk talk talk and eat eat eat.

              • Bright Red

                “just pointing out that people will bleat that something is an outrage against democracy whenever it suits them and take an opposite position within the space of a breath”
                There’s nothing logically inconsistant about that when the two cases are substantially different.
                CERA is an outrage against demcoracy and s59 isn’t.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Brownlee’s a lazy slug without the nouse to do much apart from talk talk talk and eat eat eat.

                If that’s true then you should be terrified of this bill as it won’t be Brownlee pulling the strings.

                • higherstandard

                  yes it’ll be the end of the world as we know it…….. snore

                  • Tigger

                    The Greens have the luxury of being the only party in Parliament with no electorate MPs.  Means they can stand on principle the whole time.  I agree with their stance here but I can’t blame Labour for their position also…

                    • Carol

                      Electorate MP Hone Harawira (and Chris Carter) voted with the Greens on this bill & it’s amendments too.

                    • wtl

                      I accept that Labour was probably in a lose-lose position on this… either risk being portayed as anti-Christchurch, or voting for a bill which they don’t really agree with. They chose the latter option.
                      But I don’t really understand the logic of your statement… Why does having electorate MPs make any differences as to whether or not to take a stand?

                  • Marty G

                    enabling act? snore
                    kristallnacht? snore
                    anschluss? snore
                    lebensraum? snore
                    Will it come to that? probably not. But in 1933 who would have thought that giving the government emergency powers after the reichstag fire would come to what it did?
                    At least the SPD had the sense to vote against it. Our SPD rolled over.

  13. Samuel Hill 13

    Clayton Cosgrove just announced that Labour will support the CERA legislation.

  14. William Joyce 14

    Check out Photostream
    Feel free to copy, use and distribute.

  15. James 15

    Well. Can’t vote Labour after this. Better get back to my latte and hand-wringing huh?

  16. MrSmith 16

    Isn’t Brownlee the guy with the plan, remember this http://thestandard.org.nz/confirmed-brownlee-made-it-up/
     
    This Guy just makes shit up when it suits, so CHCH could end up looking like a great big pudding.

  17. MrSmith 17

    Maybe this is part of the plan .
    “Statistics New Zealand figures show that in the month of February, 3908 New Zealanders left for Australia on a long-term or permanent basis. That’s 139 Kiwis leaving every day. Even when you take into account arrivals from Australia, we lost a net 3136 New Zealanders across the Tasman that month.”
     
    This should sort out the housing shortage for King Gerry, Hey and maybe Wonkey meant a brighter future in Ozzy.

  18. Reasons to vote against CERA Labour

    Yet another sterling performance from an already consistently stunning Labour team.
    Supporting National by voting for CERA.
    Supporting National by voting for Internet Copyright Law.
    What utter fucktard sellouts.
    Now I know for sure I’m not voting Labour this year.

    • Fat Uncle 18.1

      Not keen on voting for Norman either….leaving us with the serious option of?

      where are those dudes with the video that were standing for the Christchurch council? could be worse right?

  19. Ummm

    I am aware that I am a passionate supporter of the Labour Party but guys …

    FFS

    The legislation is an abomination.  In constitutional terms it is appalling.

    By voting for it you have made Brownlee more powerful.

    I appreciate that behind the scenes  much discussion was had and some improvements were made.

    But occasionally you should just say no to the bastards. 

    Be brave, stand up for your principles.

    Here endeth rant.

    • Armchair Critic 19.1

      FFS micky this is appalling.  I listened with a bit of pride as Clayton Cosgrove demolished Gerry Brownlee, the legislation and the processes used to create it, and then recoiled in horror when he said “..but we will vote for it anyway.”
      The legislation is not good enough, Labour and the Greens know it, Labour and the Greens said it, Labour and the Greens put up a whole lot of amendments, but only the Greens (and a couple of independents) acted like an opposition.  I may as well have voted National in 2008.
      I’m just hoping that someone has the courage to post about it at RA, so I can give them a bollocking.  Very disappointed.

      • mickysavage 19.1.1

        Aye, the speech was great but when it came time to say “sorry we will do our utmost to help in the rebuild of Christchurch but this legislation will not help and we cannot support the concentration of power in Gerry Brownlee’s hands without some sort of democratic control by the people of Christchurch” they went silent.

        Uuuuuuuurrrrrrrrgggggggg.  Be brave ….

        • Swampy 19.1.1.1
          Because Labour don’t control the council as well. So they vote for the CERA because it undermines the council.
    • the sprout 19.2

      i’m impressed ms – that says a hell of a lot coming from a very loyal supporter like yourself

  20. wtl 20

    But just look at the MSM reporting on this bill – a little about this here and there, but no real analysis of the contents of the bill or any expert opinions on it. And people here are pissed off with Labour for voting for it. I can’t say I blame people for being upset, although I would say that MAYBE this decision by Labour was pragmatic. Anyone who is pissed off enough to change their votes will give their votes to the Greens. This won’t affect the chances of a Labour-Green government next term. But these are people who know enough about the content of the bill to form an opinion. What about the general public, which make up a bulk of the voters? Thanks to the wonderful media in this country, they probably have no clue. This issue will be forgotten about in a few days. I doubt it will have much affect on their voting.
     
    On the flipside, if Labour had voted against the bill, I’m sure the MSM would have seized the opportunity to make it seem like Labour was anti-Christchurch. And I don’t think Labour would have stood a chance winning the battle of spin that would have ensued. Nact have proven to be experts at media manipulation. Of course one might argue that Labour just need to lift their game. But I’m not sure it would have been a good idea to try to do that with this issue. The opinion of others may vary.
     
    Another point is this just goes to show the whole point of the use of urgency by this government – to get controversial legislation passed with little analysis. Introduce the bill, pass it in a few days, and hope the media attention dies down before anyone can properly digest what’s going on. And time and time again it’s been proven to work. The media just don’t pick up on it or care. I can see no other reason to use urgency. They have had months to come up with legislation and certainly did not need to have it passed in a few days. With something this important, we need to make sure we do it right, not do it quickly. But the only people thinking that are are tiny percentage of the population who read blogs like this and are actually informed enough to make a decision. Everyone else is clueless.

    • Aye WTL

      All very good points.

      It makes you despair about democracy though …

      IMHO the best thing the Labour Party (and Green party) could do is get its activists onto the street and just talk to people.  There really is a need to bypass the MSM.

    • the sprout 20.2

      I would say that MAYBE this decision by Labour was pragmatic

      oh i’m sure it was, and that pragmatism is serving Labour soooo well
      can you remember the last time Labour voted on principle?

      • wtl 20.2.1

        can you remember the last time Labour voted on principle?

        No I can’t. Though one good thing to emerge from this fiasco is the Greens did vote on principle, and it seems that them voting for CERRA last time was just a blip. So if we want principle, we still have the choice to vote Green. Of course it is very sad that NZ politics is like this but one choice is better than none.

        • Marty G 20.2.1.1

          the Greens were sideswiped by CERRA and voted for it without having a chance to properly consider it. They readily admit that was a mistake. In voting against CERA, they’ve upheld the principles of democracy.

      • Marty G 20.2.2

        “can you remember the last time Labour voted on principle”
        probably some time in 2008.
        I think the saddest thing, sprout, is that you and I both believe to our core in what Labour is supposed to stand for. But the party failed us, again.
        It’s like loving someone and then discovering they don’t love you anymore. It makes you realise that the dream who thought you shared has only existed in your head for some time.
        It’s made a Green voter of me.

        • the sprout 20.2.2.1

          Well said Marty, that’s exactly how I feel.
          I want to vote Labour, and I don’t want to vote how I now intend to vote this election, but I can’t bring myself to enable the NZLP in its current form. I also think voting for another party will have a better likelihood of achieving the sort of government I want for this country. That feels very odd indeed for someone who’s only ever campaigned for Labour.
          Canceling my monthly donations this week too.

          • Armchair Critic 20.2.2.1.1

            I will find it very difficult to vote Labour this year, too. So I’ll probably vote Green.  Here’s how I see it:

            National, for all their faults, have acted like a government.  Not a good government, and they done a lot of really bad stuff that I detest, but government-like, none-the-less.
            The Greens have acted like an opposition.  I heard Gareth Hughes on the Copyright Bill, and saw the final votes for the CERA Bill.  The Greens did the job I expected Labour to do.
            Labour seem lost – torn between being National-lite and a proper left-wing party.  Once they find their way I’ll reconsider my voting intentions – I hope they can do it by the end of this winter.

            Specifically regarding CERA, a promise to replace or amend the Act with something that will work would partially ameliorate my revulsion at Labour’s failure to be The Opposition this term.

          • Jim Nald 20.2.2.1.2

            Suggest you move your monthly donation to The Standard.
            I’m waiting to be emailed The Standard’s bank account number so that I can make a cash donation.

            • lprent 20.2.2.1.2.1

              Have a look at the donations page. You reminded me and I finally delivered after checking with the other trustee of the trust.

              • Jim Nald

                Thanks very much, Handsome.
                 
                That gives me a good reason to step away from the computer before Kiwibank shuts today.
                 
                captcha: income  (yes, a wee bit coming in)

              • Colonial Viper

                Just gave my monthly pint of Guinness to The Standard. Well worth it :)

                Now, how much more a month will be needed to open the satellite TV channel of The Standard? :D

                • lprent

                  Thank you…

                  After having a vague look at the struggle to keep Triangle alive, I’m not sure I’d want to. Finding the content would be a bugger.

                  • the sprout

                    If we had a TV channel most of us would have to wear hoods over our faces – it’d look like the broadcasting wing of the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade :lol:

                    • lprent

                      But just think – requiring hoods would probably improve the appearance quality of the current affairs presenters (fill in the name of your candidate for the presenter that you’d least want to have in front of you..).

                      Sure I know it is shallow, but a radio format would be better for political reporting/opinionating.

                    • marg

                      I know I’d prefer Paul Holmes with a hood.

    • wtl 20.3

      Another point regarding urgency. It not only deprives the public of a chance to be informed and form a view, but it also deprives MPs of the same. Labour and the Greens would have had very little time to consider the legislation and make a decision what to do. FFS, they didn’t even know the contents of the final bill until a few hours before the vote. When rushed into a decision, the decision made often isn’t the best one. Something really has to be done to stop this abuse of the process. It is getting very serious.

  21. Descendant Of Smith 21

    I’m slightly stunned as well but only slightly as I still see Labour as not being the party it once was – right wing antidemocratic pricks.
    In the era of cut benefit rates et al I oft said that National had infiltrated the Labour Party – looks like they are still there.
    Fuckwits – I thought nothing had pissed me off more with the recent Labour Party than not putting the $20-00 back on benefits but this does.
    Action speaks louder than words – don’t they get that simple premise.
    They better come out with some decent policy soon cause the only thing that is saving them in any way at present is that the other bastards are worse.
     
     

  22. Colonial Viper 22

    ***SIGH*** :(

  23. Sookie 23

    I am sure Labour decided to hold their noses and vote for this clusterf*ck because the average munter in the street would believe the hysterical spin if they didn’t, but I still think they’re a bunch of sellouts. I’ve been thinking of voting Green all year, and this along with the stupidass internet piracy bill sells it for me. Congrats Greenies, you just picked up a shitload of pissed off lefties. Kudos to Harawira and Carter as well. Independents in parliament are a good thing.

  24. Key selling off NZ 24

    If Labour will vote in favour of Brownlee, the Green will stand up to him.
     
    There is community resistance to National and their sell it all agenda http://beyondresistance.wordpress.com/ Brownlee wanted to mine national parks, now national want to mine Southland, drill off the East Coast and sell off energy assets. Rich supporting the mega rich.
     
    If labour won’t stand up to Brownlee and neoliberalism, others will. Roger Douglas is leaving parliament this year, his ideas can leave with him.
     
     

  25. Carol 25

    There were some really good pieces of critique in the CERA debates yesterday in the House from Labour and Green MPs (especially Clayton Cosgrove & Ruth Dyson from Labour).  They exposed the duplicity of Bronwlee & the Nats, who promised cross-party consultation and then blatantly broke their promise and did not listen to any alternative views – they pretty much just included what Brownlee wanted in the Bill, with one or two teeks in response to some submissions.
     
    But after the great critiques and exposes, and showing they were wanting the best for the people in Christchurch based on what the people wanted, I was dumbfounded to see Labour vote for this Bill.  It has done nothing to convince me o change my vote from Green to Labour.  The Greens stand has made me feel continuing to vote for them is the correct choice.

  26. Jim Nald 26

    Hehe. Just watched the video.
     
    May I be pedantic and ask what is (what I thought I saw) “Se la vis”?
     
    Might that be “C’est la vie” ?

    I’m thinking of a “funraising” karaoke night for The Standard that includes this video.

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