Dompost says CERRA needs to go

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, October 4th, 2010 - 17 comments
Categories: democracy under attack - Tags: , ,

The Dom’s editorial begins:

“The rule of law is what underpins civilised society. Germans like to tell the story of how Frederick the Great was irked by the noise of a windmill near his Sanssouci palace, but failed in his bid to have it removed after the courts ruled in favour of the miller.The point of the story is that even Frederick the Great was not above the law, proving that even the mightiest among us are subject to checks and balances.

However, in Christchurch in 2010, were earthquake supremo Gerry Brownlee to find himself troubled by a windmill, he could simply have an Order-in-Council made to ensure its removal. There would be no recourse to the courts”

Of course, we hope Brownlee won’t do that. But what’s to stop him? Democracy doesn’t give unfettered power and hope that it won’t be abused. Already, Brownlee has made favours to his mates in the trucking industry and extended State agents’ emergency powers to, bascially, do whatever the hell they want even though the state of emergency has been lifted.

“There is no denying the need to ensure that the rebuilding of Christchurch proceeds as smoothly as possible, and that red tape does not tangle up those trying to return the city to normal.

But the powers that the Government has granted itself are swingeing, and the portrayal of Mr Brownlee, the minister heading the recovery programme, as a latter-day monarch is not too far from the truth.

The Government can effectively decide to ignore the law except for five acts… Among the laws it can override are the Resource Management Act, the Commerce Act, the Historic Places Act and the Health and Disability Services (Safety Act), the underpinnings of the planning regime.”

I’ve yet to see a solid reason given why the existing planning regime is inadequate. All we get is ‘extraordinary times’ ‘crisis!’ but no actual explanation of the problems that the laws would cause and how making Brownlee dictator solves them.

“Edicts made under the new act carry all the force of the law, no-one acting in good faith under those edicts can be held liable, and there is no right to compensation created by the act. That effectively removes any checks and leaves power unbridled.”

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the removal of the basic right to petition the courts for redress suggests a government that doesn’t care about doing things right.

“There is no suggestion that the Government will use the measure – passed with the support of all parties in Parliament – capriciously. However, nor can there be any guarantee that it will make the best decisions.

There is understandable scepticism over whether Mr Brownlee – the man keen on mining conservation land – should be trusted with architectural heritage of Christchurch.”

Brownlee only got the job because he (nominally) lives in Christchurch. I can’t think of a worse minister for the job (apart from Bennett, Wong, Coleman, te Heuheu, Heatly, Williamson, Groser, Tolley, Turia, Sharples, Boscawen, Hide, lazy ol’ Joyce, crazy ol’ Smith, Mapp, Guy, Carter, Carter, Collins, Wilkinson, McCully, or Dunne).

“Nor should it be forgotten that the tough building code requirements and consent process played a huge role in Christchurch coming through the horrific quake with no loss of life. The public is being asked to accept that the Government will ensure that the standards it applies will be as strong.”

It is extraordinary that the Government wants to power to repeal by decree the very laws that protected Christchurch so well.

“The motives behind the legislation were good, but the execution was not. It should be revisited”

The more we see the media criticise CERRA, the more Labour and the Greens’ cowardly act of voting for CERRA for fear of a media backlash shows the poor judgement of those parties’ respective leaderships.

Don’t forget to join the ‘End the Reign of Gerry Brownlee I‘ facebook group.

PS. It looks like the Greens have done an about face on CERRA and are now calling for a review. All it took was a series of anti-CERRA media articles and the near unanimous damnation of their supporters to help them discover their courage. Not exactly stunning leadership but welcome nonetheless. Now, where’s Labour?

17 comments on “Dompost says CERRA needs to go”

  1. BLiP 1

    Check out Clayton Cosgrove as he defends the opposition’s cowardice at about 2:33 here where he likens the critics to “latte drinking, hypothesising political pontificators”. He pulls out colloquial examples of people having to put up with portaloos but offers absolutely no evidence that that suspension of democracy will assist those same people. Further in you’ll hear Brownlee stating that he is not even willing to consider concerns – no surprises there.

  2. ianmac 2

    I think that I read an Editorial in the Press a week or so ago, but it does seem strange that such a “democracy under attack” issue has not become a public issue. Brownlie’s dismissive remarks as were Cosgrove’s bewilder me. Review CERRA please.

  3. Bill 3

    “If nothing is done to rectify things, I shall consider putting forward a Member’s Bill to give Parliament another opportunity to amend the more egregious parts of the Act,” said Dr Graham.

    Hardly an ‘about face’. They are, it seems steadfastly supportive of CERRA. All they want is to fiddle with “the more egregious parts”.

    I particularly like the bit where they reiterate their reasoning behind voting to demolish democracy “The Greens voted for the Bill as a signal of support for the people of Canterbury,…”

    There are no qualifiers. No doubts expressed.

    The Greens are maintaining they were essentially correct in what they did.

  4. frog 4

    Kia ora, I really appreciate your concerns and anger about CERRA, but it’s not really fair to characterise the Greens calling for a review as “doing an about-face”. They put up 6 constructive amendments in a very short time frame (they had less than 12 hours to consider the draft bill), all of which cover the concerns that have since been raised by the Law Society. Only one of them passed and Labour and others did not support most of them. Russel Norman and Kennedy Graham gave excellent speeches raising the very concerns that you have so rightly voiced.
    You may disagree with the final decision made about which way they voted in the end, but don’t mischaracterise the Greens position about the Act as one that has changed. They were constructive critics of the Act from the beginning, indeed they were the first to raise concerns about it.

    • BLiP 4.1

      . . . but still voted for it.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        “…but still voted for it”
        “as a signal of support for the people of Canterbury”, BLiP.

        Apparently.

        Thing is.

        I thought it was the Government was asking for the measure. But no. Because in that case The Greens (and the rest) would have been supporting the Government. But as we all know, they were in fact supporting the good people of Canterbury.

        Just, I can’t seem to find any record of the people of Canterbury asking that dictatorial powers be bestowed upon a single person of the Government’s choosing. Of course, I’m simply not being thorough enough in my search. It will be there somewhere.

        Maybe Dr Graham or Mr Norman can make public the letter that was received from the people of Canterbury asking that democracy be suspended? Can you help out on that one frog? Pass the message on perhaps? That some of us are curious as to the source and form of the solicitation for support that came from the people of Canterbury ( Which people? Who were they and what did they say?) that compelled the Greens (and others) to rally round in support and vote through the CERRA.

        At least we know it wasn’t fear of negative press that guided the Green vote. If it had been, they could now do a complete about face in light of press coverage, cop a mea culpa and get on with ensuring a full restoration of (our limited social democratic) democracy.

        But on the increasingly likely scenario that it was not fear of negative press coverage that led the Greens (and others) to vote in the CERRA as was initially claimed by some. And if there is no letter or was no delegation or such like from the people of Canterbury asking for CERRA type legislation, then the question that will remain is why did our representatives decide that we no longer needed he systems of a representative democracy?

        Anyone willing to turn blue waiting for a straight forward answer?

        • ianmac 4.1.1.1

          I do believe that a Mr Parker asked for these powers to go alongside his request to demolish ECan. He said, “Please give me the power to over-ride those silly pesky rules that stop me from building an awesome Empire for me in Christchurch. The other two Mayors will believe anything I say so do it dear John.” And he did.
          (By the way I made that all up. 🙂 )

    • Blighty 4.2

      but still vot.. BLiP beat me to it.

  5. Frog 5

    Kia ora, I really appreciate your concerns and anger about CERRA, but it’s not really fair to characterise the Greens calling for a review as “doing an about-face”. They put up 6 constructive amendments in a very short time frame (they had less than 12 hours to consider the draft bill), all of which cover the concerns that have since been raised by the Law Society. Only one of them passed and Labour and others did not support most of them. Russel Norman and Kennedy Graham gave excellent speeches raising the very concerns that you have so rightly voiced.
    You may disagree with the final decision about which way they voted in the end, but don’t mischaracterise the Greens position about the Act as one that has changed. They were constructive critics of the Act from the beginning, indeed they were the first to raise concerns about it.

  6. Gotham 6

    The Greens should never have voted for this in the first place. I am sure not all MPs supported it, so there must have been some (Norman? Graham??) who pushed for supporting the Act to be passed. Not good enough to now come out and demand changes – the Greens didn’t have to support it in the first place. It’s one of the only benefits of having no power in the House – you actually have the opportunity to stay true to your convictions and principles without having to get into the complicated area of negotiation with your coalition partners…

    A totally lost opportunity for the Greens to have stood up and been the voice of reason from the beginning.

  7. Benjamin B. 7

    The … what … wait. The Dom Post? Who? Eh? *gasp* The Dom Post condemns CERRA while the Greens defend it?

    Looks like I have to revise my opinion of the Dom Post. Ah, and, that of the Greens.

    PS Captcha: discussion … is what the opposition MPs shoulda had.

  8. freedom 8

    It matters not what the various parties decide to do today, or tomorrow, or next week. They unanimously voted to remove Democracy in new Zealand. They are all guilty and it will not be forgotten.

    Actually, the chances are it will be forgotten. A staggering number of intelligent and supposedly informed people still have no idea of what occurred with CERRA. I was talking to some folks on the weekend who pride themselves on ‘knowing what is really going on’ and they could not answer a single question about CERRA. A couple of them reacted with incredulous fervour when i slowly explained for the the tenth time that The government, the entire body of MP’s indeed every elected representative of our Deomocracy unanimously decided to abolish Democracy in New Zealand.

    We as ‘free people’ can not let this act be forgotten, and go unpunished. The dangerous precedent that has been set must be repealed. CERRA when it does finally get stripped of its power must be removed from New Zealand’s books. The obvious authoritarian nature of this most dangerous set of laws is the next time they decide to use it.

    During this initial application of CERRA there is no doubt that a few misdemeanours will occur, like the abandonment of heavy freight safety on our roads, but nothing of any real substance will happen. This time. The pathetic excuses for why CERRA was created are all too easily replicated and with a few flicks of a pen the Act will be refitted to manage whatever future event the powers that be deem needy of action. It is then that the true Dictatorial nature of CERRA and its children will be let loose on your neighbourhood.

    The creation of CERRA is nothing but Politicians unlocking a guncabinet, showing you that the guns are all safe, leaving the shells on the table, then walking away and feigning ignorance when the Homicide Detective begins inquiries.

  9. KJT 9

    As my suggestion that we should have democracy on the open Labour ideas fest got negative voted. I am not sure that New Zealanders have any innate commitment to democracy anyway.

  10. Dean Knight 10

    Just to clarify. It’s not just Brownlee who has this power:

    http://www.laws179.co.nz/2010/10/chcheq-vast-power-but-for-whom.html

  11. Nil Einne 11

    I agree that very likely few people have heard of CERRA so don’t know what it is or why it’s controversial. While the papers have largely condemnded it, they don’t really seem to have made much of a fuss. Definitely far less then the condemnation of the Electoral Finance Act 2007 where at one stage it was difficult not to be aware of it if you read the Herald (yet even with that I think a lot of people didn’t really know what it is about).

    BTW, in the same vein, in terms of political parties, I somewhat understand their POV. The reality is, even with the media criticism that has emerged, they would have been perceived by most as not caring about Canterbury, using the earthquake for political grandstanding, and other manners of ills since in truth most people aren’t really going to bother to understand why they opposed the bill or consider whether they might have a point.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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