Fran gets it

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, April 25th, 2009 - 17 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, democracy under attack - Tags: ,


Fran O’Sullivan shows that she gets it – National-Act’s supercity is designed to serve the interests of the business elite by taking democracy away from the people of Auckland, and that’s the reason for their refusal to give the people of Auckland their referendum.

Problem is, Fran’s all in favour of getting rid of democracy:

“Grassroots democracy has hardly served Aucklanders well.”

What she really means is that democratic local government hasn’t served the interests of the Auckland business elite well enough for her liking. So she’s all for getting rid of pesky democracy and installing a representative of business on an all-powerful Lord Mayor’s throne.

It’s attitudes like Fran’s that show just why we need a referendum. Our political-business elite simply can’t be trusted not to screw the scrum.

17 comments on “Fran gets it”

  1. Gustavo Trellis 1

    She has a point. Look at the legacy of Hubbard, who won on a platform of not being John Banks and not a hell of a lot more. While it’s still an admirable political trait, he was not cut out for it enough and his reign was a joke. However, I doubt this is really a compelling argument to get rid of democracy altogether, and it’s not necessarily that democracy is flawed, just that people have to be smart enough to make a rational decision. Smarter voters, smarter system, everybody wins.

  2. Ianmac 2

    There are some who become elected councillors because they would like to help a community. But I think that often the system is there to further the interests of the business community. Self-interest; keep out the commercial competition, attract people to the shops, use volunteers to run the parades so that more people will shop etc. My direct dealing with our small-town council staff and the elected people has been great, and have no complaints and yet….
    As for Auckland…. Well good luck to those who choose to live there!!

  3. PFraser 3

    She has it wrong comparing Brisbane with the Auckland ‘super-city’. Brisbane still has several local councils and only those councils in the centre of Brisbane were amalgamated. They still have a lot of local democracy.

  4. Irascible 4

    She has a point. Look at the legacy of Hubbard, who won on a platform of not being John Banks and not a hell of a lot more.
    Well what about John Banks? He’s hardly an example of a democratically minded individual with community interests at heart. But then he is a NACTer so he must be acceptable to Fran ans the NACT spinners in the Herald.
    Auckland has not been served well by the business lobby groups for its history. Every community focused proposal from Mayor Robbie in the 1960s was squashed in favour of the business lobbies – the opportunity to have a decent public transport system based on light rail & a metro system disappeared in a ton of tarmac.
    Hide has it wrong and Auckland will suffer as a result.

  5. The Baron 5

    [Tane: Wrong. Deleted in line with policy. You can take your conspiracy theories elsewhere.]

    • Daveski 5.1

      Disturbed by this action Tane

      Nothing inappropriate in the post – no abuse, logically explained, genuine point – what exactly are you against and what exactly are you for?

      That you would delete a sane post that doesn’t attempt to abuse or troll in any way is disturbing. Yep, your site, your policy, I know the drill

      • Tane 5.1.1

        It’s not the misrepresentation of our positions on the supercity I had a problem with. It’s that he accused us of running a campaign for a referendum at the bidding of Labour. I find that personally offensive. It’s also in breach of site policy, hence why his comment was deleted.

        • Daveski

          I am a little more comfortable with that. The various posts have had a consistent line which I suppose is where TB was coming from. Thanks for the clarification.

          • Tane

            Well, we did do our first ever joint editorial on the issue. The basic argument is pretty simple, and I think pretty powerful. People deserve to have a say over the future of their democracy.

          • lprent

            One of the base points of this site is that it is a set of writers who write their own opinions. While I’m a strong supporter of Labour, it’d be fair to say that I’m not exactly a conventional supporter and have a strong tendency towards being a maverick. Beats me why Helen let me play with her electorate campaigns, but she did.

            Most of the other moderators probably aren’t labour supporters (although IrishBill sounds like he is getting back there again).

            In any case we don’t write things at the behest of any party or organization. We find it deeply offensive when people tell us that we do, and it is one of the fastest ways to get a hard boot from the site. TB was lucky that Tane got to him before I did.

            I’d point out that the editorial piece that Tane refers to was just from the moderators. The moderators talk to each other via e-mail, but there is no e-mail group of all of the writers. However I’m pretty sure that most of the various writers on the site would have supported the premise

            Incidentally, it’d be easy to argue that this site and others in the blogosphere (as well as grassroots) are dragging the political parties along, including Labour, rather than the other way around. The parties are showing strong signs of being surprised about the depth of feeling on this issue.

            I haven’t seen a single issue get quite this much traction in Auckland at grassroots. Most seem to think that we need better governance in some form, but super-city support is lukewarm. Personally, I’m in favour of some such body, but probably more akin to enhanced and more independent ARC than what Rodney or the royal commission proposed. I could live with something like the royal commissions system with changes. Rodney’s one just looks like a recipe for disaster.

            However Rodney and the NACT’s arrogant actions in pushing their own plan without any significant consultation just pisses people off. Seems like it is showing up as a major issue all of the way through the voting base, including in the support base for the right. I can’t help but think that Rodney overstepped the level of toleration of Aucklanders.

        • The Baron

          It wasn’t my intention to allege you were running this campaign on the behest of the Labour Party, though (from what I recall) I can see how that impression could be gained.

          The intent of the post was that both the Standard writers, and the Labour party, have an inconsistent approach, and a non-existent response, to this particular move. I was pointing out a parallel, not a coordination.

          Once again (and not to be antagonistic – I hope you don’t object to rewording to avoid any impression of “consipracy”) the simple question was “What is the alternative to the approach being taken?”. This site’s, and the Labour Party’s (parallel, not coordination) inability to articulate what they would do instead on these issues is a bit concerning.

          As for the deletion of my original comment – well that’s your prerogative.

  6. dirk 6

    Baron, activate brain – wanting a referendum isn’t the same as being against the proposed supercity and it certainly isn’t the same as being against any supercity. it’s a question of who should get to decide – some mp and his mates or the people of auckland

  7. Fran O’Sullivan made a lot of good points in her column. Many of the problems she referred to were real and on-going. many appear to equate “democracy” with the need for multiple local councils.

    I don’t .

    My submission to the Royal Commission was in favour of one Auckland PROVIDED there were at least 35 Councillors and and they were elected from multi-member wards (5 – 7 of them) using Single transferable Vote (STV). This would provide a single Council with representation on it of every significant community of interest in the wider Auckland area.

    We got the one Auckland, but they have gutted it of the democracy Auckland deserves.

    There isn’t much room for doubt that National is a fervent enemy of democracy. From the gutting of the RMA, to the proposed Auckland gerrymander, to the cutting of funding to bodies that aid accountability, to the coming campaign to dump MMP…….democracy is clearly the enemy as far as national is concerned.

    Dictators are OK as long as they are good dictators….When they go bad, there is no way to hold them to account short of a gun. National has never really understood that real democracy includes EVERYONE…..not just their cronies and club men.

  8. r0b 8

    Here’s a translation of Fran’s weasel words into English:
    Grassroots democracy has hardly served Aucklanders well. … The upshot of grassroots stirring is that Aucklanders miss out.

    Bloody proles don’t know what’s good for them.

    What is desperately needed is not more of the same but people with vision and courage who can lead Auckland – not hold it back.

    So they need to be told what to do by their natural masters (the people who pay my wages).

    The collapsed timeframe – one year instead of the four that the commission originally recommended – will no doubt be seized on by the critics as yet another example of the Government trampling over Aucklanders’ rights.

    We plan to trample all over Aucklander’s rights.

    But frankly, Key will be mindful that if the process takes too long, it simply gives more time for change to be derailed.

    So let’s get it done quickly before the morons notice.
    Shame on you Fran O’Sullivan, you hack shill. If National are so confident that their ideas are the right way for Auckland they should be confident enough to sell the story and put it to the vote. Ramming it through without the referendum required by law is a travesty.

  9. http://www.Things I Must Prepare For In My Lifetime.con

    Lord Mayor of Orcland Sir Rodney of LeafyEpsom

    Governor General Sir Jon Bjanks

    Special Raconteur to the United Nations Sir John Key

    Lead role as the Narrator in the Taihape Rep production of The Rocky Rocky Road Show Mr Winston Peters.

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    “Sir Jon Bjanks”


  11. BLiP 11

    Fran – the National-voters’ Sarah Palin.

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