As Labour learned to its cost last year you can’t keep on insisting that something is true if the public’s opinion has hardened against it. Once the disconnect is in place, not only do you fail to bring people to your point of view, your efforts make you look aloof or unlistening, hurting your popularity.
That’s what National faces now over the supercity. Here’s the part of the Q+A interview with Melissa Lee and David Shearer on the supercity:
MELISSA Super City well it makes sense to me, what matters is that people actually like the idea of one city, one rates bill, one council, but the thing is that the concern is how Mt Albert people are going to be represented in those council and you know there will be submissions there will be consultation and you know I’m hoping to make sure that Mt Albert people have a voice.
DAVID Super City’s going to be rammed through parliament this week under urgency, why can’t we actually have a discussion about it.
MELISSA Excuse me it’s not going to be rammed through parliament.
DAVID We’ve got a proposal put in front of us now and people really haven’t had a chance to look at it, they don’t understand it and they feel that their power of being able to plan for their own communities is being taken away from them.
DAVID We did have a royal commission, that royal commission came up with a report, the report was binned and we got a pamphlet that basically told us what was gonna happen, now people haven’t had a chance to
MELISSA Look this is scaremongering, this is absolute scaremongering by the Labour Party
DAVID It’s the reality Paul.
MELISSA and they’re actually saying that people are not gonna have a chance for consultation, they will, it will go out
DAVID Look the decision’s already been made by Rodney Hide, he’s already made that decision.
MELISSA to actually determine how they will be represented in those councils, you know a lot of people that I’ve talked to on the street like the idea, as I said one council, one mayor, one rates bill, it’s smart, and you know what
DAVID People are very worried that their own community is not gonna be served by one council, one mega council is gonna represent more than .
MELISSA Exactly but you know what
DAVID And there definitely needs to be some integration with the public transport for example…
…DAVID Consultation basically is I mean the decision has been made, I mean Rodney Hide has decided that this is the way it’s going to be, he’s gonna push it through regardless and we can consult but this basically is going to be the reality.
Lee has nothing but ‘supercity council good, consulation plentiful, objections = scaremongering’. There’s the disconnect. Most Aucklanders oppose the supercity, Lee’s effectively saying ‘you’ve got it wrong’ but not backing it up with anything. It just doesn’t ring true to say there is adequate consultation or that the only opponents are Labour.
The problem for Lee (and its the same with the Waterview connection) is that her party is at odds with popular sentiment. The only solution is to change the subject. Thus we see a cynical attempt from Lee in the interview (dutifully picked up by the rightwing blogs) to use the Napier shootings to make crime an issue:
MELISSA But you’ve only been there for the last week as he said, he’s only come back just a week ago, I’ve been there for longer than that and people are telling me people are telling me that they’re concerned about safety issues, I mean as you know Paul I have been a victim of a home invasion, I had a gun pointed in my head, don’t tell me that law and order issue are not actually a big issue for people of Mt Albert, just look at what happened in Napier.
PAUL Well to be fair to Mr Shearer he has had a bomb go off 25 metres behind him when he was sleeping.
MELISSA True, but I mean maybe that is the reason he doesn’t think law and order is a big issue in Mt Albert
Yeah, the guy who has been face to face with armed men in Somalia and Iraq doesn’t understand law and order. Don’t think that’s going to fly.