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Goff stands up for democracy in Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, April 27th, 2010 - 70 comments
Categories: accountability, assets, auckland supercity, democracy under attack, democratic participation, phil goff, referendum - Tags:

He’s been burning hot and cold the last few weeks, and the last few days have been hot. Fresh from promising to restore the top tax rate that National is set to abolish and give the revenue to the poor, Phil Goff has outlined Labour’s vision for fixing National’s undemocratic Supercity:

“When the National Government received the Royal Commission report it saw Auckland differently – not as community, but as a corporation.

So it has gone about creating the city in a way that isn’t transparent, that isn’t accountable, that isn’t responsive to its communities.”

It really has been disgraceful. The Government simply has not listened to anyone. The people of Auckland have been dictated to and their cities treated like bounty for a plundering corporate elite.

Labour will legislate to enshrine real decision making powers for local boards.”

And we will review the ward boundaries and talk to communities about whether single rather than multi member wards would better ensure that all communities are fairly represented and feel their voice is being heard.”

The Government has made the local part of local government toothless and made it difficult for anyone with serious money behind them to get elected to the council. That must be fixed.

“We will restore to Auckland the power to make its own decisions about the structure and powers of the seven council-owned companies that will manage three-quarters of the rates revenue provided by Aucklanders.”

“We will legislate to ensure all Aucklanders have a say in a binding referendum before strategic assets can be sold.”

See that Righties? It’s called democracy. Of course, Aucklanders should have had a referendum on the Supercity. But the Government prevented them from having one because it knew it would lose.

“I will invite the Mayor of Auckland to attend Cabinet committees for significant decisions relating to Auckland.”

This is the only part the Government has tried to attack Goff on. National Party pollster David Farrar, in what I’m sure is a coincidence, ran the line too: “why stop there? Why not the Mayor of Christchurch and Dunedin also? And Hamilton?”

Umm, yeah, why not? Goff actually said after the speech that other mayors should be invited when Cabinet considers issues specifically relating to their city. What could be wrong with that? I can’t imagine would be more than half a dozen times a year. They’re probably in Wellington for lobbying etc more frequently anyway.

National and Act have ridden roughshod over Auckland democracy in the interests of their corporate allies. Phil Goff has made it clear that Labour will restore local democracy.

[before anyone criticises, the statue of liberty was the only symbol associated with democracy I could find that is recognisable so small:)]

70 comments on “Goff stands up for democracy in Auckland ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    He can say what he likes. Judging by the polls, his biggest problem is finding someone to listen.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      gee the TV3 poll showing a 8% closing of the Nat-Lab gap? The Roy Morgan showing confidence in the govt plummetting and Nats below 50% for the first time since the election? The TVNZ poll showing the gap closing?

      For over a year now, you righties haven’t actually been able to defend this government, only able to say ‘well, I can’t say what they’re doing is right but it seems people still like them’… and even that pathetic defence is crumbling.

      • Hamish Gray 1.1.1

        Uh, I think the TV3 poll showed an 18 point gap – 34% against 52%. the latest Roy Morgan had National at 49.5%, actually up 0.5% from the last poll.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      However, these are hard lines for the government to oppose. All they can really says is that Goff is making things seems worse than they really are. But that doesn’t really work in the minds of people who agree with Goff – it just alienates them.

    • felix 1.3

      I don’t know Tim, you seem to be listening pretty closely.

      • tsmithfield 1.3.1

        Na. I just read the first paragraph about Goff saying something. That was enough for me.

        BTW, where the hell did you get the idea that my name is “Tim”. Guess again.

        • Pascal's bookie 1.3.1.1

          Tarquin?

        • felix 1.3.1.2

          Dunno, you just seem like a Tim. Not particularly nice but certainly dim.

          • tsmithfield 1.3.1.2.1

            Well done, genius. You’ve just successfully insulted anyone called “Tim” who happens to be reading this blog. For your next trick?

            • teatime 1.3.1.2.1.1

              I don’t feel insulted – they were specifically writing about u tsmithsblahblah

            • Lanthanide 1.3.1.2.1.2

              Actually it is a reference to Harry Enfield’s “Tim nice but dim”.

              • uroskin

                You cannot expect National voters to have cultural knowledge like that.

                Captcha: serials

              • tsmithfield

                No, you’re right. Righties spend too much time in the real world solving real problems.

              • Bright Red

                yeah, like you, eh TS?

                I hear you’ve just worked out how to solve National’s unemployment problem.. something to do with a cycleway.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Righties spend too much time in the real world solving real problems.

                cite?

              • felix

                Tarquin doesn’t have time to cite, he’s too busy solving problems in the real world.

            • felix 1.3.1.2.1.3

              Beautifully illustrated, Tarquin.

              • tsmithfield

                Since we’re into redesigning names, I was wonder if you would mind me extropolating from the feline connotation of your name and refer to you as “pussy” from now on?

              • felix

                Sure. Whatever spins your wheels t.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.2.1.4

              Righties spend too much time in their delusional world causing real problems.

              There, fixed that for ya.

        • Kevin Welsh 1.3.1.3

          You don’t happen to work for a bank do you ts?

    • Tigger 1.4

      I listened to Goff speak at an Ohariu public meeting last night. A pretty good sized crowd was there as well…

  2. Ianmac 2

    Well done Phil Goff! “Stands Up for Democracy” is one of the selective issues which is vital and will have resonance everywhere. Even in Canterbury. Go Phil!

  3. Rharn 3

    When is Goff going to stand up for democracy in Canterbury. Labours silence on this is ‘deafening.’

  4. Phil Goff is begining to look and sound like a good Labour leader. He makes Key look like the playboy he is.
    The blagging of Goff comes from the political Right and because of the
    very good publicity they get it has some effect .even among our own people .Its time to fight back and answer the critics of Goff. Having heard him on a number of occasions I firmly believe that he is a leader we can be proud off.
    Don’t let the propogander from Crosby/Textor tell otherwise.Let us all remember that Helen Clark was on 2% for a long while , The Nats had a field day but the truth came out. Lets all get behind Phill and inform the public just what a Prime Minister he would be.

    • Dan 4.1

      Totally agree TPP. Goff is looking good.
      I don’t think the NACT party understands their loss of support in the major urban areas. The SuperCity debacle, and the Canterbury environmental putsch, as well as the niggly things such as the health food issues in schools, the cutback in R and D, tax cuts for the rich, and the insistence on national standards despite many reservations.
      National party supporters did not vote for Rodney or Roger Douglas. But that is what they got.
      Labour got offside by not listening to its traditional base, but those supporters got completely conned by the Cosby textor promises.
      Go Phil. Interesting threads on the NZHerald today must give you even more reason to smile.

      • sean14 4.1.1

        If Phil Goff is the answer, the question isn’t even worth asking.

        • Dan 4.1.1.1

          And if Rodney, and Sir Roger, and Tolley, and Brownlee is your answer, a lot of people will be asking questions!

  5. Mark 5

    The problem that Goff is creating by standing up for a perceived lack of democratic representation in Auckland is he is denying other cities the same democratic representation.
    He loses his moral authority to say that any changes to the Seabed and Foreshore Act are undemocratic and favouring one sector of New Zealand over another when he is doing the same thing with Aucklanders.

    All Cities are equal , some are more equal than others

    • I dreamed a dream 5.1

      Phil Goff is not denying other cities democratic representation. You got to take this in the context of the Auckland Super City, whereby NACT has stolen away democracy. I am sure Goff’s position applies to other cities too.

    • Ari 5.2

      Huh?

      Read the article, it mentions specifically that his invitation to the major of Auckland is likely to be part of a policy that involves majors of other cities who are significantly impacted by national (small n) policy.

    • Bright Red 5.3

      Mark. He said on the news that his invitation applies to other mayors too.

      Knowledge is power.

  6. Bill 6

    Detached and preachy…kind of like a very dull university lecture.

    I don’t want to be subjected to explanations. I want his passion and an unequivocal stating of his ideological stance….his opinion.

    He could do far worse than take a leaf out of old Winstons book, cause love him or hate him, at least Winston is engaged. Which means that he doesn’t drone on. Which means you won’t nod off…which was the overwhelming urge I was getting as I tried and failed to finish reading the link.

    • Anne 6.1

      Hey Bill
      There was plenty of passion in his speech on Auckland’s new governance yesterday. It’s not his fault the MSM choose to ignore it so that the bulk of the public don’t get to see it.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        I wasn’t there Anne and so can only extrapolate from the written words through the link. And it ain’t no prose of passion.

        Even just consider the first block of quote in the post as an example. Phil is speaking…apparently…but Phil isn’t there. What is there is an arid explanation of others and their motives.

        And then you tell me he instilled passion into a speech that prattles about “..the seven council-owned companies that will manage three-quarters of the rates revenue..” See, that just strikes me as being reminiscent of a political version of Tolkeins silmarillion…all very correct, all very precise and all very uninspiring and passionless.

        But hey. You were there and you tell me he was passionate. I can’t imagine that from the evidence of the prose I’ve read, but then maybe you just had to be there.

        • Anne 6.1.1.1

          @ Bill
          I attended because I wanted to hear Goff speaking for myself and – like many people who had not heard him make a full blown speech – I was impressed. There was plenty of substance and I can imagine it would seem stilted in prose, but he delivered it in anything but a dispassionate manner. If you don’t believe me have a look at the comment section of Phil Twyford’s post on Red Alert.

          Btw, I came away reflecting that I could imagine Helen Clark making the same speech.

  7. Joe Bloggs 7

    December forecasts predicted a $10.1 billion cash deficit this year and core Crown debt trebling to $65 billion by 2014

    “Tax and Borrow” Goff ignores this issue and would have us deeper in debt and more heavily taxed. We’d end up just like Greece but without the EU to bail us out.

    Not to mention snuggling up to Winston … again

    This, of course, comes on the back of Phil offering kudos and big UPs to John Key for his astute work as a pollie.

    Doesn’t matter how big a spin you put on it – Phil Goff is irrelevant and one of the best leaders of the opposition that National could hope for.

    Time to show him the door

    • Irascible 7.1

      Perhaps he could hold the door for the present NACT rape & pillage legislators to exit stage right?

  8. randal 8

    phil will get ’em in just a little while.
    hang on for the big show.

  9. Tim Sparks 9

    Democracy, democracy, yes, when it suits. When it does not suit, such as with the anti smacking bill or the Electoral Finance Act, then democracy is a non-word, after all. National, Labour are both the same, good listeners while in Opposition, completely deaf once empowered. I give up on both, and I support neither. We last had a true democracy under the leadership of Savage.

  10. Gooner 10

    randal, you lot were saying that in mid 2007, 12 months prior to the 2008 election. Except then it was “Helen will get Key soon…just wait”. Mid 2007 was almost three years ago.

  11. tc 11

    More of the same please Phil…..and no wandering off again less than 18months out.

    With a docile msm it’s going to take alot more of this but the good news is there’s plenty to chew on for Labour with sideshow and his mates making off with what they can and being as arrogant as Piggy was into the bargain.

  12. Santi 12

    You have to feel sorry for Goff and the socialist Labour Party. They don’t a chance in hell of winning in 2011, so we’re saddled with lazy Key & co until then.

    Drop Goff as leader now and start being Opposition!

    • gobsmacked 12.1

      Santi: “They don’t a chance in hell of winning in 2011” (verb?)

      Hmmm. Combined National/ACT/United Future support: 51%

      http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2010/4485/

      That’s with 18 months still to go. Lose just 1% every 3 months (which is only continuing the last 6 months’ trend), and John Key will be offering Hone Harawira a paddock full of ponies and installing him as ambassador to Paris.

  13. Hamish 13

    Marty G, wrong picture. This is the correct picture of 7up Phil: http://tinyurl.com/35gugrv

    • TightyRighty 13.1

      isn’t it only 7 phil? there is only down for that guy

      • Roger 13.1.1

        Good on ya guys, don’t bother commenting on the torrid behavior of your heroes Clueless ‘DonKey’ or Hydemarama.

        • TightyRighty 13.1.1.1

          another lefty shill unable to accept the truth. we don’t need to cheerlead for NACT, the electorate is cool with them too.

  14. What’s democratic about binding referenda on privatisation?
    Referenda are dominated by the rich and msm. They are not one person = one vote, but $1 million = 1 million votes.
    Goff should be saying that Labour will not sell assets and will renationalise all privatised assets because Labour puts people before profits. Not the soft soap rogermimic profits for the people.
    Then he has to put up some serious candidates to take on the NACT stooges already lining up.
    Where is the squad of Phil Twyfords marching into battle?
    Are we in a war or are we not in a war?
    Maybe Labour doesnt recognise a war cause its in no mans land.

    • Bright Red 14.1

      “Goff should be saying that Labour will not sell assets and will renationalise all privatised assets because Labour puts people before profits.”

      these assets aren’t owned by the Government, dave, they’re owned by the Auckland Council.

      • dave brown 14.1.1

        Well Goff is saying that Labour will legislate to make binding referendums necessary before privatisation.
        They can also legislate to prevent Councils from selling their assets, just as National has legislated to rip them off into CCOs and then into their mates pockets.

  15. Roger 15

    It is a sad indictment on the msm when pretend threats to democracy get front page editorials and actual threats such as what Commodore Hydemarama (sorry to steal this from another commenter on another post but it is brilliant) and his mates are doing to Auckland and Canterbury are rather passively covered if at all.

    Capcha: implements, if only we had the amount and type the “champions” of democracy had during the select committee process for the EFA.

  16. gobsmacked 16

    So Goff is being attacked on this by Dave from the 1% fringe left, as well as the usual suspects, the foam-at-the-mouth right-wingers.

    He’s going up in my estimation.

  17. Rex Widerstrom 17

    It took them a while, and I feared the search party may never return, but it appears as though Labour may just have found where Helen hid its testicles. Now if they can just sew ’em back on and get them in fully working order…

    Mind you, the conscience centre of the brain will need to be restarted too, so travesties like the EFA aren’t put back on the agenda, negating what appears to be a late conversion to democratic principles.

    But this is a start, and a damn good one.

    • prism 17.1

      I put this on Mike but then thought this is the right area. I thought that James made interesting points. Anyone care to comment?

      I came upon a Press item around my supermarket frozens. Colin James on Goff and Labour and it has good thinking fodder in it. Link http://www.colinjames.co.nz/Press/Press_2010/Press_10Jan30.htm

      He looks at the terms of Labour in key periods, compares to the National vote,
      and poses question how often will Labour be in during the next five decades.
      Among his points problems for Goff preparing for the 2011 elections plus the task of building policy and voter platforms for a long-lasting next Labour government

      Two choices: skilful moment-to-moment managerial politics (like National) with faith in MMP maths, or build a principle-based policy line that locks in a strong voter base.

      ‘Labour under the baby-boomer educational meritocrats who ran the 2000s Cabinets extended the underdog notion embedded in championing wage workers’ cause to other disadvantaged groups: women, gays, Maori, ethnic minorities.’
      He refers to identity politics okay if there are enough identity groups and mainstream voter support for them. But John Key is cultivating the peak iwi leadership group and other iwi leaders and pitching a new Maori politics around economic assets and development directly challenging Labour’s identity politics connection and indirectly querying its socioeconomic underdog pitch to Maori.

      James has thoughts about ideas to focus Labour minds.
      Towards the end he says “Labour probably won’t dominate office if it builds incrementally on 1970s-2000s thinking on such questions’.

  18. Hamish Gray 18

    So no mention of the Maori seats issue at all then, huh?

  19. zonk 19

    good start.

  20. Jenny 20

    Keep up the good work.

  21. Anne 21

    Apologies.. Maori seats issue is mentioned on “Two faced too far”. Not this post.

    • Hamish Gray 21.1

      I meant by Goff. The extracts provided don’t mention the Maori seats at all.

  22. tsmithfield 22

    Here is a point that is worth discussing.

    We all like to defend democracy as if it is a sacred cow. I am in the same boat in this respect.

    But given the cold hard problems the world is facing, for instance given problems the world is facing such as peak oil:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/201098-peak-oil-investments-i-m-putting-my-money-on-part-ix-the-methadone-economy

    is democracy actually the best model, or will it merely exacerbate the world problems due to its short-sighted focus?

    The reason is that democratic systems often rely on short-term fixes to keep voters happy. Contrast that with China which has ridden out the world crisis better than any other economy. Perhaps the best model would be a beneficial type of dictatorship, where the leadership focus on long-term sustainable solutions rather than immediate vote-catching ones. In our context, a coalition between the major parties may achieve this sort of goal in a democratic sort of way in that a stable long-term government is likely to result that may be able to focus more on long-term solutions rather than immediate vote-catching ones.

    • Ari 22.1

      I don’t really think dictatorships or autocratic governments have a good track record either, TS.

  23. tsmithfield 23

    I don’t actually like that type of solution either. I enjoy the freedom we have under our democratic system as much as anyone.

    However, that is no reason not to consider the merits of other alternatives, especially when the world faces some major issues.. As I said, the Chinese aren’t actually doing too bad at the moment, compared to many of the democracies such as those in Europe that have built up massive deficits due to politicians desire to please the people.

    Look at the recent Copenhagen meeting for instance, that was based around democratic type principles. The inability to reach a consensus and agreed course of action shows how impudent the world is to deal with its problems under existing structures.

  24. Swampy 24

    Labours response both in Auckland and Christchurch is essentially reactionary coming after they spent years stonewalling opposition to their regional council experiment up and down the country.

    In other words, nothing new to offer. No real solutions.

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