Reproduced with permission from No Right Turn
A couple of years ago, DPF went apeshit about the then-Labour government’s Electoral Finance Act. While intended to protect democracy from the unequal influence of the rich, DPF saw it as an attack on democracy. So he vented online, raised funds, even launched billboards comparing the government to Mao Zedong, Kim Jong-Il, and Frank Bainimarama. So you’d think that when the present government announced plans to sack an elected council and strip 560,000 people of their vote in regional council elections for four years, as a “defender of democracy”, he’d be similarly outraged about it, right?
Yeah, right. He supports it. Taking people’s votes off them is fine if you take them from people who vote the “wrong” way.
So much for DPF’s commitment to democracy.
lprent: DPF mounted a rather pathetic ‘defense’ of his position in this post yesterday afternoon. It amounted to ‘the Labour government did it too’, which pretty much appears to be his repetitive stock response to everything these days. Usually he is incorrect because he compares unalike situations. This may not be deliberate, as the comparisons may simply exceed his cognitive abilities.
There is a considerable difference between this case and a council requesting its dissolution on behalf of its constituents because they are having problems as in Rodney in 2000. In that case, the government held elections at the earliest possible opportunity.
In the current Canterbury situation, organisations and people external to the council appear to want a dissolution for more pecuniary motivations. With the exception of the irrigation lobby it is hard to see any other group that was actively seeking a dissolution. Most people including the local mayors appear to have wanted a hurry-up on some decision making. However it is clear that some farmers, especially dairy farmers, were upset on decisions on water by the council.
Wyatt Creech has a long association with the dairy industry who are pushing for more water allocations in the area. Asking him to look at water allocation issues in Canterbury looks a bit like a case of asking a stoat where it would like kereru to site their nests. His answer appears to be to ignore all of the other work by the council, get rid of the bothersome local democracy, and shift to an unelected divvy up of the water spoils.
The key factor in this case is that elections are not being called for at the next available opportunity, and there are indications that the voters of Canterbury are about to lose control of their water. If that isn’t an attack on democracy and the ability of populations to have a say in their own resources, then I don’t think that DPF fully understands the basic concept.