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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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    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago