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Labour grassroots revolt against Quake Act betrayal

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, September 16th, 2010 - 154 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, labour, Parliament - Tags: , ,

A couple of days ago Labour MP Brendon Burns posted a self-congratulatory piece over at Red Alert celebrating the ‘rare unity’ among parliamentary parties in voting to make Gerry Brownlee dictator of New Zealand for the next 18 months.

The response from Labour’s grassroots was swift and brutal. Here’s a selection of comments:

Shame it was unity in granting Gerry Brownlee dictatorial powers to change any law he wants with no oversight. That’s the sort of unity we can do without.

This is terrible legislation to see in a democracy, I’m all for speeding up the process of recovery in Christchurch but extending central government power over councils and past legislation in such a way is scary, especially when Gerry Brownlee is in charge…

Add me to the list of appalled, especially at opposition parties supporting this legislation. Shame on you all for allowing such an undemocratic piece of legislation, and giving even more powers to a government that has already thumbed its nose at democratic procedures in a large number of unnecssary ways

Can we please have one of those opposition parties that actually opposes the government when they pass legislation that subverts our democracy?

:-( :-( :-( :-( :-(

This legislation is an outrage. By all means, give the government powers to aid recovery but this law is not the solution. It’s a sad day for our democracy. This is New Zealand’s PATRIOT legislation. Best of intentions – appalling execution.

Yep, ‘Shock Doctrine II’ is here.
Shame on you, Labour – you introduced ‘Shock Doctrine I’ in the 80’s and now are willing accomplices to this…

This is a terrible, terrible piece of legislation to vote for… What an utterly useless, idiotic opposition we have… I would have hoped that Parliament wouldn’t unanimously abdicate the government to Gerry Brownlee.

I heard part of your speech(es) last night, Brendon. I have no doubt that you – and Labour – wanted to do the right thing. I also believe (genuinely, no sarcasm) that Gerry Brownlee sees these powers as part of the recovery, and nothing more. But it’s not about intentions. It’s about power, and democracy. Kings can have good intentions too. But we don’t put them in charge any more. This is bad law. Bad precedent. I think many MPs know it, deep down. I hope they reflect on what they have done.

This is a terrible law and as a party member I am very disappointed in you and every other MP who voted for it.

I am deeply disappointed. There was no need for this law. There might be “rare unity” in Parliament but you have missed the opportunity to enhance and empower local communities. Why the rush? This bad piece of law making has just made a horrible situation even worse.

I also am disquiet about this law. It doesn’t seem right to believe that the government will do the right thing, based on the fear of OIA requests. Which the current ministers duck without fear of consequence.

A Act that is designed to give the government power to temporarily override the Building Act in Canterbury, should be aimed only at the application of the Building Act in Canterbury, and have a grandfather clause. Surely, this is overkill. Gerry Brownlee, with the consent of cabinent can change a staggering array of laws, all around the country. Come on guys, pick up your game.

Add me to the list of extremely perturbed citizens. As Idiot Savant said this is the sort of unity we can absolutey do without. I object!

Labour voted down virtually every amendment that would have introduced democracy or accountability to this bill. Sometimes I expect good things from the New Zealand Labour Party. I really, honestly, do. And then I’m reminded that there isn’t a principle that can’t be traded away for political expediency. Fat lot of good you lot are as an opposition. We need better than this.

The more I learn about this legislation the more angry and upset I feel. Its not a surprise coming from NACT’s but that my party supported it is just too disappointing. I could weep.

This is unbelievable!! How could you vote for this bill, and vote against many of the amendments providing greater protections. This is the worst piece of legislation in NZ for a very long time. I am extremely disappointed and disillusioned in the Labour Party today.

Supporting this legislation was a an act of breathtaking gutlessness. Every citizen now knows that there is not a single person,or party, in parliament who cares a whit about democracy.I’m not at all happy about this. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I listened to this on the radio in absolute horror. You guys are meant to be the opposition, yet there was barely a whimper, even from the Greens. There are some terrible aspects of this Bill and you, as a party, let them past. The lack of courage is appalling.

All of the above and another disappointed member. I’m gobsmacked 120 mps, especially my favorite 43, voted away the ability to hold the govt to account on this incredibly important rebuild, and any credible opposition to the shonky results that may follow

The most astonishing thing is that these comments are all from Labour members and sympathisers. Yet not a single one of them wrote in support of Labour’s position on this bill. Even the usually sycophantic Spud could only manage a bunch of sad cartoon faces. Talk about being out of touch with your own supporters.

No one questions that the damage in Christchurch needs to be fixed urgently and that there’s a case to be made for giving the government the tools it needs to get on with the job. But not this. Effectively suspending our democracy and handing absolute power to one person in the hope they won’t abuse their power is inexcusable, and deep down Labour’s MPs must know it.

Though if Brendon Burns’  reply to this thread is anything to go by, the parliamentary wing of the party isn’t interested in listening. In a post emotively entitled Women and children first, Burns dismisses the anger of his supporters (and, I assume, the universal condemnation of constitutional experts) as “howls of outrage” that are illegitimate because “every other party and MP in Parliament” supported the bill. As if that makes it all okay.

He then utterly fails to address any of his supporters’ concerns and implies that if you don’t support the bill you are misinformed and don’t care about Christchurch quake victims. Oh, and it’s kind of like the Blitz but not really. That’s quite some arrogance. Maybe the guy’s suffering a bit from the stress of what’s going on, beats me. But this is neither his, nor Labour’s, finest hour.

Image credit: Scoop.co.nz

[I can’t help but notice the irony that the next post on Red Alert is Chris Hipkins complaining about National’s abuse of parliamentary process.]

154 comments on “Labour grassroots revolt against Quake Act betrayal ”

  1. “I would have hoped that Parliament wouldn’t unanimously abdicate to Gerry Brownlee.”

    that one sums it up for me. Just incredible that they allowed themselves to be steamrolled into voting for this. Smacks of a decision made in haste by the goffice’s pr people.

    you know, I sincerely think that never would have happened if Cullen had been around. He always saw the big picture, not just the public relations angle.

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      I am disgusted also. Mostly with the greens. I thought they were better than that.
      To their credit they DID manage to get some oversight pumped into it via an amendment and I assume that this was dependent on them voting for the bill which was already going to be railroaded through anyway. This could be the saving grace as the OIA requests could uncover a lot of ammunition for the election.
      But still. I would rather sit on the other side of that fence. Some bridges are worth burning FFS.

      Having said all of that…Labour:

      I cannot help what would have happened if in the alter-verse labour had voted against this and railed against it. I am picking the media would have portrayed it as the opposition “scoring points” at the expense of CHCH etc. Also the lack of reporting of why they voted against it.
      I mean, are the mass media screaming about the abuse of liberty right now??
      At least in this scenario they come of “no worse” to many. And most of the hard core lefty people are probably never going to vote for national ever anyway. Since the greens voted yay as well there is no where else left to go.

      But on the flip side of this they have basically handed a(nother) big PR win to National and now they look like popular, unifying heroes instead of just being popular and using this to rail-road through policy again. Is it not better to fall on your sword as a martyr for freedom? (NB: the correct answer in politics is no)
      I would imagine they are gambling on the nats handling this like they handle everything else: badly. And thus when the goldfish memories of the voters have moved on to the next smelly little pile of political reporting they will be able to unpick what the nats have done.

      Tough decision in my book. Not as black and white as you are all pretending it is…

      • I do understand that Labour and the Greens would have had to risk negative press to stand up for what’s right. (Of course, it’s hard to predict exactly how it would have played out in the media.)

        I might be more sympathetic to their problem if I saw that the parties sometimes went one way and sometimes the other on this sort of issue. But what seems clear to me is that Labour (and to a lesser extent the Greens) will *always* take the cowardly and safe option.

        Cowardice in politics is a) deeply unappealing, b) shows a lack of faith in your values and ideas, c) shows a lack of faith in the electorate.

        • Mr Magoo

          I agree. They need to show balls. And not just on the easy issues like asset sales.

        • David Thompson

          The petulant responses I’ve seen since from politicians justifying their decision don’t help the matter, either. They’re not coming across as strong in their principles, or willing to fight to safeguard our civil liberties and democratic processes. They’re coming across like the passive-aggressive “nice guy” saying: “But I did what I thought you wanted, even though I didn’t really want to. I showed you how nice and considerate I am! Why don’t you like me anymore?!”

          Better to take the criticism on the chin, learn from it and do better.

      • Bright Red 1.1.2

        At the very least, Labour could have put up an amendment limiting Brownlee’s powers only to the named Acts. And making it that all orders in council had to be approved by resolution of parliament in its next sitting.

    • While I hold no truck with labour overall; Why do you think they had to disappear and what;s more why do you think not a peep is heard from the remaining labour muppets? Welcome to the globalist New World Order

  2. Bored 2

    Unbelievable Labour (and Greens)…..basically it shows the level that parliament has descended to with regard to its inability to debate, gain concensus and act. The concept of democracy has been whittled away by reverence for executive power. Every member of the house should be ashamed.

  3. ABC 3

    That the current line up support this in more than just principle means they’ll use something similar if elected themselves. This was always clear to those who observe politics rather than cheerlead for various parties. Labour, National, right, left, centre, it doesn’t matter. It’s about power, absolute power if possible, and the people have most definately lost control of it. No much point wailing about it because no one is prepared to challenge the systems and existing hierachy to fix it. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • Marty G 3.1

      wailing about it is challenging the system and building momentum to fix it.

      you don’t start a revolution as a one-man army, you build numbers and consciousness

      • ABC 3.1.1

        Collective organisations are fantastic for talk fests, good for making one talker more respected than the other talkers, but for change you need doers. Doing is risky against merciless encumbents, especially when they’re you’re own. Group thinkers like to laugh over old corpses like Garret and ACT, but they don’t make moves. Seems the grassroots of Labour have all the support and momentum they need. What they lack is a doer for a leader. The last time leadership changes were raised on this blog, commenters were pre-emptively threatened with being labelled as stupid if they supported it. It’d undermine the hard work of the volunteers, don’t you know. Well there it is: the comfortable system is worth more than doing what you know has to be done. If you’re afraid of your friends calling you stupid, forget about upholding democracy.

        • Bored

          What they lack is a doer for a leader. Too bloody right, not to mention the lack of colective leadership and respect for the democratic process. Goff needs to go asap, along with a number of time servers and party hacks. Pour encourager les autres.

  4. Meg 4

    Excellent post. I was gobsmacked by the response that basically if we didn’t agree with this legislation we didn’t care about women and children. Having just spent a week in Chch supporting the ‘women and children’ I’m related to, this response was more than a little distressing

    • Tigger 4.1

      There was little anyone could do to not vote against this thus risking the moniker of seeming uncaring.

      But yes, the current situation is rife for opportunity for abuse. That said, any crap created under his reign will be his crap…maybe this is just Labour trying to do the best for Christchurch while also giving National enough rope. My most generous reading of it is that.

      Did anyone from the Opposition note they’ll be watching the govt closely to ensure no abuse of the powers?

      • Carol 4.1.1

        Brendon Burns latest blog post does say they will be watching closely…. kinda:

        Changes were won. Orders in Council – the mechanism for rapid regulations emerging from the councils and CERC – will be subject to analysis by the Regulations Review Select Committee. An hour before the bill was completed, Gerry Brownlee issued an SOP which provides for CERC to be subject to the Official Information Act. Consultation in advance will occur over every Order in Council. The sunset clause was negotiated back from 5 years to 18 months.

        Some of us will remain uneasy and vigilant for those 18 months .

        But he seems to limit this vigilance to watching how the law is used to rebuild Canterbury, and seems to ignore the wider abuses the law could allow:

        You won’t see me sitting on my hands if the legislation becomes an excuse to bowl heritage buildings that can and should be saved or erect ugly replacements.

        But there are thousands of ordinary Canterbury battlers who’ve seen their homes or businesses smashed up, sometimes beyond repair. Tonight my daughter, a student teacher at a local primary school, told of pupils still living in motels or crammed-in elsewhere, dealing with their own stresses and those of freaked-out mothers. Their interests come first. Canterbury people will also be the first to alert us if if the legislation is not delivering what I hope all MPs believe it is designed to do. If that situation comes about, there’s much more we’ll be able to do about it thanks to the changes we negotiated.

      • Pascal's bookie 4.1.2

        “That said, any crap created under his reign will be his crap”

        Parliament, all of it, gave him the authority to do whatever he pleases. How exactly are they going to ‘ensure’ shit?

        He can say “You said I can do this” and then what?

        I hear you that it’s a generous reading, but it’s still really bad. I agree that they were probably scared of being called unhelpful if they voted against it, but that is just cowardice. And it’s not like they couldn’t have painted this as the executive trying to grab the legislatures power and remove the judiciary’s oversight role is it? Seeing as that is what’s happened.

        It’s our parliament. ‘cept they just said all of that stuff is just lulz to be tossed aside for the sake of unspecified effeciencies whenever it’s politically too inconvenient to fight about it.

        Good intentions don’t count for shit, I want reps that rep. If they are not prepared to fight for me, then they are no use to me. Instead I get numbnuts Burns telling me that it’s ‘reponsible opposition’ to hand the power of parliament to the executive on a platter with a note saying ‘don’t be evil, or else we’ll maybe call you names unless that too is polically inconvenient’.

        Fuckity fuck fuck.

        This would be yet another Wrong Day To Give Up Heroin.

        • Bright Red

          well, that brought a smile to my face at least:

          “Wrong Day To Give Up Heroin.”

          brilliant. that’s one obsecure reference.

          • SHG

            Yeah, a quote from a main character in one of the most popular movies of all time, that’s pretty damn obscure all right.

            • Bright Red

              Airplane is from, what, 1980? So pretty old and, good as it is, not widely known these days. And it’s just one joke in the movie.

              • mcflock

                “not widely known these days” – Shirley, you can’t be serious?

                I think it’s tending towards cult status now, though it hasn’t quite reached it yet

      • David Thompson 4.1.3

        “There was little anyone could do to not vote against this thus risking the moniker of seeming uncaring.”

        As someone who’s just seen the local shops demolished, a church spire down on out on the main road, friends nearby evacuating from a flat when aftershocks made the cracks in the walls creak ever wider, my uncle’s lawn filling up a foot deep in silt… I wish they had been willing to take that risk.

        Things are bad enough here already without feeling like the government’s kicking us in the constitutionals while we’re down. I would have hoped that our politicians would legislate in a way that helps people but also protects us from all-too-possible abuses of power. Perhaps a vain hope.

  5. Thanks for writing this Eddie. It’s well put and captures everything I felt about the legislation and Labour’s ‘response’ to members’ concerns, but was too angry to say with any decorum.
    It seems every day Labour’s Parliamentary Wing grows more arrogant, more oblivious to its withering support base, in short – more and more out of touch with the Party.
    WTF is going on with these people?

    • comedy 5.1

      “WTF is going on with these people”

      They are politicians.

      or to quote D4J the “bard of the blogosphere”

      ‘I am horrified by the sordid antics and sick backgrounds of our disgraceful MP’s. When will it stop! Yeah right not in this country mate.

      No wonder the public view them as lower than a pus ball. Sack the lot of them and start again FFS!

      What a sick Beehive.’


      ‘Well past time to clean up that cess pit Beehive!


      Sit down John Boy Wee!!!

      Garret should get whips from the cane. FFS what a sick – sad country run by wimps.’

  6. Red Rosa 6

    No wonder the voters get cynical. But Labour can bask in the approval from Kiwiblog both on the F&S and the ChCh EQ legislation. So all is sweet.


    But as several commentators have pointed out, ChCh does seem to be getting under way again, without Reichstag Fire Rules to hand the place over to GB.

    No doubt some sort of legislative tweaking for rapid rebuilding would be useful, but it needs proper consideration. Already, the dodgy builders and wide boys are moving in to capitalize on people’s distress.

    So far the justification for this draconian legislation has been very thin. And it doesn’t seem to do much for the hundreds of homeless in the ChCh eastern suburbs, Labour strongholds from way back.

    If ever they needed effective MPs, it is now.

  7. smhead 7

    Obviously there are some labour supporters who want to put their hatred of national ahead of dealing with the earthquake. how dare the government change the law so christchurch people don’t have to pay to send tonnes of rubble to landfills. how dare the government suspend the rma so people don’t have to wait months for a resource consent to change a broken sewer pipe. much better to use the opportunity to hold christchurch people to ransom for the sake of political potshots at national.

    this isn’t labour grassroots, this is the angry left whose hatred for national dominates everything. Let the poor and homeless eat cake, the left say.

    this is not a dictatorship. We still have a minority government subject to parliamentary sovereignty. If browwnlee over=reaches just once then parliament can overturn the law.

    • Meg 7.1

      Why are people like yourself so quick to ignore it was resource consent processes that saved most of Christchurch?

      The buildings that had been built up to modern standards are the ones standing, the cathedrals that had been earthquake protected are the ones that fared best, the houses not built on land the council objected to due to major concerns about liquifaction are the ones mostly still standing.

      How the fork do you think no regs or resource consents will help rebuild a safe Christchurch?

    • Marty G 7.2

      actually, smhead, i understand from Laws179 (www.laws179.co.nz) it’s within Brownlee’s power to entrench this law and make it permanent.

      And no-one’s against the waste levy being put aside for the rubble. It’s possible to do that without giving Brownlee the power to (for instance) change the Cook Islands Constitution Act

      • smhead 7.2.1

        No he can’t change the law and make it permanent. Parliament can repeal the law at any time and will do if Brownlee overreaches.

        • BLiP

          How many tonnes of asbestos will have been dumped in the environment by then? Who will own the water rights?

          • smhead

            oh yeah Blip then you go to Christchurch and tell homeless people they can’t touch their houses or tear away rubble until they spend months getting resource consents to dispose of the rubble because “there might be asbestos!”, see how long that supercilious smirk stays on your face.

            • BLiP

              Let them get lung cancer, eh smeghead, pollute their grandchildren’s environment and let business make a fortune dumping whatever where ever . . . brilliant!! Why don’t you go down to Christchurch and tell the homeless that in addition to losing everything they own they have also lost their rights as citizens of Aotearoa – will see how long your cheesy smile lasts.

              • smhead

                Blip, in case you don’t understand, thousands of houses are in ruins. People have nowhere to live. Unless the government relaxes laws like landfill laws, there will be chaos and people WILL dump their rubble into rivers.

                Normal planning, building and resource management laws aren’t designed to deal with the biggest natural disaster we’ve ever had. Pilot says the plane has crashed? Oh let’s have a vote on who wants to evacuate the plane because that’s DEMOCRACY and it’s a travesty if the pilot makes us obey safety instructions.

                • Lanthanide

                  How about you come down to Christchurch and find that actually, most people have been minimally affected by the quake. This isn’t like the 8.8 in Chile, or what happened in Haiti where thousands of people died and everything is left in ruins. The city is still largely intact, and while it will take a lot of rebuilding and some people have been very badly affected, for the majority life is carrying on as normal. Therefore this extremely broad enabling act is unwarranted.

                • Bright Red

                  The plane hasn’t crashed.

                  And why should Brownlee be pilot?

                  And it isn’t a plane.

                  • smhead

                    Actually the plane has crashed. The cost will be $4 billion, making it the worst disaster in NZ history. “Oh but not many people are affected!”. Ha. Tell that to the people who are suffering $4 billion of damage.

                    Brownlee’s the pilot because he’s a senior employee of the airline that the passengers have chosen to fly. ie the government.

                    • Bright Red

                      No-one’s denying there is work to be done in Canterbury but everything is functioning essentially normally, and the rest of the country is entirely unaffected.

                      People need housing, things need rebuilding – it can be done simply enough. Yet because of this you are fine with Brownlee having the power to bring back the death penalty if he chooses. It’s completely out of proportion to the problem.

                    • SCF cost $2BN, i don’t see the govt assuming control over money lenders.
                      the response is ludicrously disproportionate

        • Loota

          Duh, not if Brownlee over-reaches on behalf of National with Bill and John’s explicit approval.

          But what are the chances of that happening 🙄

          • smhead

            Oh yeah I forgot it only takes three people to have a majority in parliament. Silly me.

            • Bright Red

              So, you think anything that is passed by Parliament is OK?

              Labour, the Greens, and every other member of Parliament were wrong to vote for this law. Even DPF admits it makes us a dictatorship.

        • Richard

          Right and the enabling act expires on 1 April 1937, after-which the constitution will be returned to normal.

    • Murray 7.3

      Excellent post, smhead. Reason prevails amongst the hysteria and paranoia of the rabid left.

  8. BLiP 8

    I cannot fathom the logic which has driven this obsequious acquiescence from Labour. In what way is a shocked and frightened victim of a natural disaster assisted by the removal of their ability to participate in the recovery of their home, their community, their city, and their region? See, silly me would’ve thought that rather than make the victim even more helpless, the better approach would have been to not weaken but strengthen the laws which protect their interests. Am I crazy?

  9. I will (predictably) defend the decision, sort of.

    I agree it (the legislation) is far more powerful than it has to be.

    But right now is not the time for loud vigorous opposition. This would be toxic to the people in Christchurch and the Nats would have used Labour’s opposition as a club to beat it with.

    The people of Canterbury are understandably on a knife’s edge because of the quake and aftershocks and a show of unity was very important.

    Having said that I am sure the message has been received and there will be intense scrutiny of any use by Brownlee of his powers.

    • Bill 9.1

      Unity already exists where it matters….between the people of Canterbury and beyond. And the people of Canterbury could have expressed their unity and probably given themselves some wonderful rebuild ideas and solutions if they had been afforded greater power to participate in their lives through a deliberate spreading out of democracy.

      But no, the parliamentary representatives have done a thing that not only does nothing to achieve or preserve or express unity, but that does the exact opposite.

      Unity is not a thing that is imposed. It expresses and perpetuates itself through action. And yet the people of Canterbury have been rendered inactive.

    • BLiP 9.2

      Okay, so, tell me, when would you suggest would be a good time for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to resist the efforts of the Executive to remove the democratic rights of its citizens? Before they’ve been done over, or after?

      • mickysavage 9.2.1

        The first sign of abuse of the powers will be the time to rail against this measure.

        The political reality is that the alternative would be for National to take urgency every time it needed to change the RMA, the Building Act, the Local Government Legislation, Health and Safety legislation …

        And each time they would accuse Labour and the Greens of stonewalling and holding up the rebuilding of the Canterbury region.

        As you can probably tell my support for the legislation is very cool. But at a time when many people have had their lives severely disrupted I am not sure if this is a good time for another fight.

        • the sprout

          the “time to rail”, has yet again for Labour, already passed

        • BLiP

          When people are down on their luck, their lives lying in ruin and their fears stirred up is EXACTLY the time for a fight to protect their interests.

        • QoT

          Sorry micky, but what. The. Fuck. For everyone whinging and moaning about how this will play out in the media NOW, what the hell do y’all think will happen when Brownlee does exercise his powers for evil and Labour/the Greens are suddenly all OMG HDU. Cue a montage of a so-relaxed-he’s-barely-conscious John Key saying cheerily, “Well shucks I think it’s just a bit silly, they voted for this after all, gee.”

    • Bright Red 9.3

      seldom disagree with you micky but if now’s not the time, when is?

    • freedom 9.4

      what good is scrutiny without the legal power to restrict the actions being scrutinised?

  10. Bill 10

    I reflected on this a little bit and can come to nothing other than a depressing conclusion about the mentality of the people who just gave away our already merely nominal democratic accountabilities.

    These people in parliament. They understand negotiating parliamentary processes and gaming one another and the electorate and so on. In other words, they understand politicking. But they have no understanding of or appreciation for democracy. And so have no real concept of what they just gave away.

    That might sound over the top. But think about it, how can they have?

    Your representative just ‘unrepresented’ the people of Canterbury ffs! Having given up their representative duties, are they now giving up their salaries and perks?

    If our democratic processes, and matters arising from those processes, are seen as inadequate or problematic in the face of real world events, then it is time to have a serious debate about the nature of our democracy and improve it so that it can deal with matters.

    But no. The Wellington Circus Troupe had a better, easier idea.

    As I said yesterday, the next time any of those clowns in parliament or their supporters bang on about how precious social democracy is, I’d like to remind them that they thought it so fantastic that they threw it away in a twinkling ’cause they thought it inadequate and not up to the task when viewed beside the suggestion of vesting unaccountable authority in a single individual.

  11. Red Rosa 11

    Don’t worry, they are onto it, over at Red Alert.


    At first glance the Hipkins post seemed brutal irony, but apparently the man is serious.

    • just saying 11.1

      I recorded my feelings on frogblog last night. Was interested that Norman’s repsonse to the feedback was so bad that it was quickly voted into the ‘do not show’.

      There’s got to be a limit to what the left will allow their representives on the grounds of “better of two evils”. There’s gotta be a moral limit. Unfortunately, I can only withdraw my vote.

      Is there a limit?

      • Bill 11.1.1

        And finally the silly ‘vote on comment’ add-on contributed something useful to a blog. It is a very good thing that all of those responsible are getting metaphorically buried beneath an avalanche of angry disapproval.

        Meanwhile, is it just me who is laughing my socks off at the thought of a 120 odd stunned incompetents buzzing around the beehive searching for a report to explain how it ever came to pass that their wee parliamentary world became so misaligned with the world the rest of us live in?

        I can almost hear them trying to convince themselves, congregated in small groups marked with many a sage nod and a chin rub that it is ‘us’, not ‘them’ who are so fuckingly fucking out of touch.

        • the sprout

          is ‘us’, not ‘them’

          exactly. that is precisely what they will be desperately trying to convince themselve of.
          one thing they can’t close their eyes to is the fact that there’s a massive divorce between left supporters and left parliamentarians.

          • just saying

            Nailed it Bill,

            I’d like to believe this “enough’ is big enough and sends a strong enough message to have an impact. But optimism hasn’t been rewarded by the representatives on ‘our’ side for some long time.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          120 odd stunned incompetents buzzing around the beehive searching for a report to explain how it ever came to pass that their wee parliamentary world became so misaligned with the world the rest of us live in?

          I wish! My thoughts run more along the lines of 120 smug born-to-rule p***ks quaffing pinot with one another and wondering how the peasantry could be so stupid as to not realise that they, our masters and betters, were the only ones worthy of power.

          And then, over the sound of glasses clinking in a toast, guffawing as one says “So, who are they going to vote for now, eh?”

  12. Adrian 12

    You cringing fuckwits. Extraordinary times require extraordinary TEMPORARY measures, unfortunately. Democracy is important but it’s well down the list when you are left in your pjs with a destroyed home, no job, stress is at a critical level and the fucking ground is still shaking. No big replacement building are going to be built in the 18 months and building CODES are not suspended and engineers are not going to compromise. As the few rationalists here have pointed out Brownlee is going to cockup anyway and the Chch Labour MPs can take the high ground saying ” We gave you what you needed and you have failed”. This is not the time for petty party politics.

    • freedom 12.1

      but it is the time to defend democracy.
      There are simply no justifiable situations for laws of this magnitude to be excreted into the lives of our country, none. In a rebuilding phase after any disaster you do not rush things, you definitely do not remove oversight and liability.

    • Bright Red 12.2

      “Extraordinary times require extraordinary TEMPORARY measures” – the mantra of every coup in history

      Yeah, the 1933 Enabling Act was temporary too.

      And why, precisely, does the rebuilding of a moderately damaged city require a minister to be able to repal the Abolition of the Death Penalty Act or nearly any other Act at his will?

    • prism 12.3

      Cool, directed thinking on how to meet the problems in Christchurch is needed Adrian. Not emotional responses that lead to so-called solutions that have long-term effects that can lead to equally bad disasters. Any ordinary fuckwit can come up with those, myself as well as any, but the systems providing care in the present and rebuilding for the future don’t require a dismantling for 18 months of the regulations and controls of our sovereign government.

    • Richard 12.4

      Adrian No big replacement building are going to be built in the 18 months and building CODES are not suspended and engineers are not going to compromise.

      So, tell us precisely what these powers are going to be used for.

      What legislation does Gerry desperately need to bypass in order to get some buildings repaired and rebuilt?

    • Draco T Bastard 12.5

      Something needed to be done but signing away our democracy wasn’t it.

      • SHG 12.5.1

        When you think about it, one of the worst things that could possibly happen is Brownlee handling the cleanup responsibly and then laying down all the emergency powers. Because people would be left with the impression that suspending democracy is OK sometimes and no-one will give a shit next time. And the time after that.

  13. freedom 13

    the ‘everyone else did it too’ arguement is fascile, juvenile, purile and just plain vile.

    for fuxks sake, the very idea that any Member of Parliament votes against democracy so as not to look bad says it all.

    bring on the Independants next election. NO PARTY is ever getting my vote ever again

    and as for the MSM licking the balls of the powers that be, business as usual i guess,.
    why bother actually telling the Public they really do not matter,
    i think they are figuring it out on their own

  14. I’m pretty sure Labour’s thought processes went like this:

    1. If we oppose the bill the government will attack us for failing the people of Canterbury.
    2. If we support the bill and give Brownlee absolute power he’ll probably abuse it, and then we get to attack the government for failing the people of Canterbury.

  15. prism 15

    Gerry Brownlee as Henry the VIII. Priceless. Keep this picture for the annals of this momentous year.

    Brendan Burns is an example of the worst of the modern politician, pragmatism first, focussing on getting things done so he can make his name as a doer, playing with words that will strike emotional responses in support of his actions, and demonstrating ‘leadership’ so as to advance his own profile and career.

    Like one of the dissenting angry Labour supporters said ‘I could weep’ at the lack of commitment of all our politicians to maintaining our democracy and severely limiting any short-term action of law abeyance. Where is their backbone, they seem to lack understanding of the history of reaching our present political status and these need to be held dearly. And they’re also lacking integrity or ideals on how society can best be served by a healthy, strong democracy that thoughtfully serves the public.

  16. Bright Red 16

    on russel norman’s post on the law, his own comments are being voted down by Green supporters to the point where they are hidden http://blog.greens.org.nz/2010/09/14/earthquake-bill-passes/

  17. Brett 17

    Thank goodness for some common sense,Well done Labour.
    For all the others here that are moaning piss off and go vote for the Alliance or some other fruit loop party.
    Middle ground is where the votes are not out on the fringes appeasing you moon bats.

    • Bright Red 17.1

      So, you support Gerry Brownlee having the power to make it an offence carrying the death penalty to be you?

      Because he has that power now. He and he alone can do it, and no court can question it.

      • Brett 17.1.1

        Could not care less.
        If it was Phil Goff or another Labour politician I would be struggling to show concern.

        • Draco T Bastard

          This Brett showing the normal RWNJs support of democracy, i.e. none.

        • Bright Red

          So why have the rule of law at all, Brett? Why not make it that any MP can make any law they like at any time?

          • KJT

            They can so long as they have the numbers in Parliament.

            • Blighty

              the key phrase being “so long as they have the numbers in Parliament”

              it’s the rule of law. Our laws should be made via democratic process, not at gerry’s whim.

              • KJT

                Yeah. Democratic process. Democratic process is when all of us decide on something.
                Like this. http://direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch/

                What we have is a pretend democracy where we are graciously allowed to swap between two similar dictatorships every three years.

                The fact that 120 self appointed parasites, who cannot do a real job, can and do override the wishes of most of the population on frequent occasions shows what a sham our democracy is. Representative democracy is a contradiction in terms.

                n 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”


  18. Zaphod Beeblebrox 18

    Its like parliament has descended into bizarro world in the wake of the Canterbury quake. I for the life of me cannot see any utilitarian function of the legislation- given that our whole system of selling and buying real estate relies upon a credible planning and building permit system to ensure buyer assurance and that only local government has the skills and technical knowledge to judge these things.

    Politicians and mayors for that matter (who are basically one and the same) are good at setting broad policy, but to let them make important blanket generalised technical, urban design, planning and building decisions is asking for trouble.

    Who would buy an apartment or house that was constructed without any permits??

  19. ianmac 19

    I think that John Key must be a very clever chap indeed. Wow! He has magically persuaded Oppostion to be part of the Act. Labour voted for it and now the Labour supporters are rebelling and taking the blame to the Labour leadership. John Key is probably grinning in a genuine way for once, at the Two Strikes:
    1. Regain the support lost over the ECan.
    2. Leave Labour and Green faithful in tatters.

    • the sprout 19.1

      alas, true.
      and don’t forget the timely SCF smokescreen to add to Key’s smile

    • Red Rosa 19.2

      Third strike the F&S, where he has double-crossed practically everyone. There are billions at stake, serious constitutional questions, and he has Labour cowering away from their own sensible law.

      Slickest NZ politician for a very long time. Misunderstimated again!

  20. Jenny 20

    I really think its time for a new left wing party. Even the Greens are now gutless and I have thought that for a while. The press have them all on the run. We have TVNZ who are all a bit scared of losing their jobs and losing corporate advertising. The rest of our media is corporate owned and they are very grateful for the tax cuts thank you.
    The next left wing government needs to break up and reform the press/corporate interests or you can forget socialism in NZ.
    Lets tell the New World order to Piss Off. I would prefer we became a backwater to facism. The trends being pushed internationally are for massive unemployment and poverty anyway so lets cut the cord from the banking elite, keep our resources so we can feed and cloth our people. Then there is biofuel produced by bacteria. We can find a way. We are a pretty hard working inventive lot and we have a great country. Lets be free.

    • Rex Widerstrom 20.1

      Ah, I was scrolling away looking for a comment which actually suggests that the parties we currently have “representing” us have abdicated that right with this pernicious and undemocratic piece of legislation and at last I find one.

      Ironically, there’s people on the right looking at Act and saying, this very day, “it’s time for a new right wing party” and coming up with all sorts of possible models.

      How about we take this as a lesson that either:

      a) it’s time for an end to all parties. Vote for independents who’ll be answerable to us and only to us, not to preselection committees in safe seats and behind-closed-doors list ranking cabals; and/or

      b) it’s time to stop looking to electoral reform to save us (it’s that old joke “no matter who I vote for, I always end up getting a politician”) – though let’s get rid of MMP and the potential it offers for cronyism and substitute another PR system with direct links from every MP to their electorate – and start demanding Parliamentary reform.

      The hubris displayed by Brendon Burns epitomises what happens to an MP – even a nominally left, first term one – as soon as they’re elected.

      His argument amounts to “you’re wrong, we’re right, because we all voted for it and we’re MPs (and thus your betters) and you’re the simple peasantry”.

      We can have freedom, but we’re going to have to let go of the comforting little corners into which we’ve backed ourselves. No more “I’m tribal Labour”. No more “I’ll vote Act even if it collapses to be just Rodney and an expense account”. A pox on all their houses.

      I see comedy has quoted d4j’s railing against this latest travesty. His sentiments could just as easily have come from anyone on the left. The dividing line now is whether or not you are a small-d democrat – we can go back to arguing economic philosophies once we’ve repaired the foundations on which our polity is built.

      Our MPs have shown, meanwhile, that they are not. Thus they no longer deserve our confidence or our support.

    • RobertM 20.2

      A riveting little blog. Honesty at last on the left. Myself Im totally for globalism, the power and the glory of the RN( ruined by Blair and Brown who proletariatised the officer core-l000 years in the service) and the USAF. Im a 24 hour party person in a way radically different from what was imagined in Manchester in 77- but i loved the music much as I admire the passion of this blog, And about the gutless media and greens I agree. I just think the indigenous facism would be crueler than that of Melbourne or LA. Christopher Boyce of course loathed his tender loin half way house- but I like the mirror glass, the lap dancing clubs the tequila and the kindness of woman.

  21. artist not on the dole 21

    over the past year, myself and many friends have commited to only voting for independants from now on, or crossing the ballot and voiding the vote with a no-confidence message

    all Party alliances are corrupt, and it seems it is escalating

    Government is really quite simple.
    The people who actually do the work are always there, who sits in the house has become important only to the lobby groups of special interests.

    make your next vote count and kick out the parties

    • Rex Widerstrom 21.1

      crossing the ballot and voiding the vote with a no-confidence message

      Problem with that tactic (though I commend you for doing it) is that it’s not noticed. In Australia, where voting is compulsory, the results given by the media – not just the electoral authorities – almost always include a tally of spoiled ballots (aka “donkey votes”).

      Because of that, former Labor Leader Mark Latham exhorted people to donkey vote before the last election, claiming (rightly IMHO and that of a lot of other people) that neither side had put up a case worthy of confidence.

      But in NZ the number of spoiled ballots is never a story and in both countries no distinction is made between those clearly lodged in protest and those containing genuine errors.

      So it might make you feel good. And it’s an entirely valid form of protest, don’t get me wrong. But it won’t inspire anyone else to follow suit.

      Whereas voting for an independent counts, literally. It’s like any small party (but in this case, just not a party). Things need to reach a critical mass, and that needs media attention. That attention encourages other people to think they’re not “wasting” their vote, and then it snowballs. That’s what I did with NZF in 1995 and how we got it from 3 to almost 30 percent in less than six months.

      So yes, kick out the parties. But do it by voting for an independent.

      • Bill 21.1.1

        Spend the next three years in cahoots with others building a sustainable and democratic grass roots presence in your local community.

        Then stand in local body elections.

        And if you’re successful, radically democratise the structures of local bodies. Open them up to the populace in such a way that the populace is empowered at the expense of, and in direct relation to, the incrementally fading relevance and efficacy of the old institutions.

        Then local body politics will have become meaningful in their own terms and stand as substantive democratic counterbalances and challenges to the centralised tendencies of our state apparatus’s.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Are you saying, by omission, that such a strategy couldn’t work at a national political level, Bill?

          A part of me wishes it obviously could, but a greater part of me knows that people will either stick with one set of totalitarians and call it “party loyalty” or switch back and forth between several sets and pretend to themselves they’re not all as alike as a set of Russian dolls.

  22. gingercrush 22

    I think the whole blogosphere really needs to get a grip.

    New Zealand already has an unwritten constituion and a consitution that has very few limits on anything. Parliament itself set up as a unicameral legislature has always had the potential for gross corruption. Literally any law can be passed with a simple majority. We have no supreme court that places limitations on government and businesses in the house can be very easily abused.

    Yet despite how easy governments in New Zealand can potentially be corrupt, there are very few instances where corruption has taken place. And when you look at other Western Democracies who have real limits on democracy you’ll find they actually have rather far-reaching corruption. The US in particular is a good example because of their Supreme Court and Parliamentary process.

    Personally, I’d be far more worried if Parliament decided to implement legislation that entrenched our Bill of Rights or placed emphasis on a written consitution. That’s when you worry. The Earthquake Recovery Bill is not something to be worried about. Because although it does have a huge risk attached to it. The risk in New Zealand for gross corrupt dictatorial practices has always been available.

    • Bright Red 22.1

      I think you need to acknowledge that this law makes Gerry Brownlee a dictator and that’s a disproportionate and unnecessary reaction to the earthquake, and in democracies we don’t give egal pwoers to people who don’t need them.

      • gingercrush 22.1.1

        No it makes him potentially a dictator. Just as our current parliament can in essence allow John Key and National to be entirely dictatorial in how they practice democracy as Helen Clark, Jenny Shipley, Jim Bolger, Mike Moore, Geoffrey Palmer, David Lange, Robert Muldoon etc etc etc before them. That we didn’t see this points to New Zealand’s ability to be fair and democractic despite how few limitations are actually place on them.

        The Earthquake and Recovery Act allows for Gerry Brownlee if NECESSARY to override exisitng laws when NECESSARY to allow a faster and arguably better response to the reconstruction of Christchurch after the big earthquake. Those who decide to use extreme examples of what potentially ignore that such actions can be potentially done by parliament today, tomorrow or whenever.

        Its this gross absurdity of what could happen that I find strikingly disturbing and frankly pathetic.

        • Lew

          There’s no oversight as to what’s necessary. The decisions aren’t judicially reviewable. So in practice and by definition, anything Brownlee says is necessary is necessary for the purposes of the act. That’s the problem.


        • Bright Red

          The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is who decides what is “necessary” an elected parliament or one person.

          If you don’t want extreme examples how’s about this: Brownlee could alter the Conversation Act to give him the power to sell off DoC land in Canterbury in the ‘interests of reconstruction’. Or, he could make it illegal to be homeless in Christchurch, in the interest of ‘public order’. Or he could grant one-off RMA exemptions for projects that would never normally be allowed.

    • BLiP 22.2

      So you’re argument against a dictatorship is to make it legal?

      • gingercrush 22.2.1

        No. I just find the idea that giving the power to possibly enable a dictatorship does not actually mean there is a dictatorship.

        • Pascal's bookie

          What is a dictatorship then, if giving a person the power of a dictator isn’t one?

          To be more clear who do you think we have given “the power to possibly enable a dictatorship” to?

          Parliament has always had the power to possibly enable a dictatorship.

          Do you think giving the power to one person to ignore pretty much all of our laws only becomes a dictatorship if they do things with that power that we don’t like?

          • mcflock

            Apparently a dictator is only a dictator if they use their absolute powers, so criticism until then is unwarranted.

            The fact that complaining about being oppressed by someone you gave the absolute authority to would be a classic case of shutting the gate (or the door to Room 101) after the horse has bolted is beside GC’s point.

            Most other people here seem to be under the impression that not opening the gate in the first place is a better approach.

    • Lew 22.3

      GC, do you think Andrew Geddis, Dean Knight and Claudia Geiringer (+ undoubtedly others), in their professional and academic capacities as experts on NZ constitutional law and practice need to get a grip, too? Because those of us hating on this bill are just following their lead.


      • gingercrush 22.3.1

        I think academics quite deliberately and especially when it comes to New Zealand Constiutional Law tend to focus on the negative. Such people will already know that despite there being few limitations on parliament already that New Zealand has continued to enjoy very free and open government as we will continue to have despite some rather wide-reaching powers given to Gerry Brownlee.

        I also think academics often don’t highlight how good our democracy actually is despite us having far fewer limitations than other government and parliamentary settings. New Zealand is an excellent example where democracy can be achieved and an example that democracy itself does not have to involve placing limitations on it for it to be practiced. And that limitations does not make democracy open and transparent, rather limitations obscure democracy and make corruption more necessary

        • Bright Red

          what’s democratic about allowing a single person to alter any law (save 5) at a whim?

          captcha: leaders

          • gingercrush

            Consent via all members of parliament. How is that not democratic? Democracy in New Zealand requires the consent of Members of Parliaments. Members of Parliaments in passing the earthquake recovery legislation gave that consent.

            • Pascal's bookie

              So if parliament unanimously repealed the electoral act and declared Bishop Brian emperor for life, that would be democratic?

              Parliament in NZ derives it’s authority from the fact that it is democratic. Democracy doesn’t derive from parliaments say so.

              • KJT

                Democratic how?

                An interchangeable parliamentary dictatorship is not democracy. This is just further proof that we do not have a democracy.

            • RedLogix

              You’re not a fool gc, you know perfectly well that the Parliament was pretty much blackmailed into voting for it; inevitably any Party that voted against it was going to get slammed by NACT and the media as ‘breaking up the bi-partisan unity required in the face of the crisis’ and ‘failing to support the people of Cantebury in their hour of need’.

              Some legislation was required, but hell even the Herald can see this has gone much too far.

              • Loota

                RL well where the frak can we find some pollies with guts who will do the correct thing (like uphold the democratic values of this country) regardless of what the media goons say?

        • Lew

          Honestly, you’re nearly as bad as DPF.


  23. Sylvia 23

    Right with you there Jenny!!

  24. A giant con
    by an anon
    Brownlee farted
    the land parted
    the reaction
    profits fall
    bail em all
    quake come
    all for one
    no division
    JK’s vision
    anarchy thwarted
    unity sorted
    election 11
    gift from heaven

    • Bob Stanforth 24.1

      You forgot…

      Sky falling
      Its appalling

      And the country gave a shit what a bunch of far left dreamers (who claimed to be “grass roots”) thought, because they got on with life, knowing that tough situations called for fast action and hard and decisive decisions.

      What would Helen have done? Anything different? Not even.

      • BLiP 24.1.1

        And the country gave a shit what a bunch of far left dreamers (who claimed to be “grass roots”) thought, because they got on with life, knowing that tough situations golden opportunities called for fast action and hard and decisive decisions to remove democracy.


      • RedLogix 24.1.2

        What would Helen have done? Anything different?

        But what would have YOU said if she had?

        • Bob Stanforth

          Bye democracy, nice to see you!!

          Wonder if this means the trains will run on time?

          What would I have said? Yay, a decisive government that knows when to act, rather than waste its time with fraudulent acts, retrospective legislation to cover up the moronic efforts of its dullard MP’s; a government that finally gets the fact that to serve the people it must act when the events require it.

          A once in a 750 year event calls for a similar response. The calls – from this site – for fast and appropriate action have been met, and the whinging starts. Almost as bad as Jum whinging about Bob and Wellington architects – out of touch with reality, and looking feeble, pathetic and grasping.

          Buy Jum, times up.

          I digress. Everyone with half a brain knows this is the perfect opportunity for the incumbents to display strong leadership, and thats what they are doing – and thats what the ‘general public’ are looking for. Kiss 2011 goodbye people, you never stood a chance, even less now.

          • RedLogix

            Again Bob, you know perfectly well that this legislation goes well past what was required. Even the Herald can see that.

            But the fact that you cannot is chilling.

          • Loota

            Wonder if this means the trains will run on time?

            The basis of democratic rule in NZ has been undermined and this is what you think of as compensation? 🙄

            A once in a 750 year event calls for a similar response. The calls – from this site – for fast and appropriate action have been met, and the whinging starts.

            Wrong. You haven’t learnt a thing from the US response to 9/11, have you.

            When a terrible disaster strikes, that is when you have to hold on to your values and your principles tighter than ever before. Because if you don’t then you have already lost.

            • RedLogix

              When a terrible disaster strikes, that is when you have to hold on to your values and your principles tighter than ever before. Because if you don’t then you have already lost.

              Perfectly put.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Obviously, his values are fully in support of dictatorship by the few ergo, he has no principals to lose.

          • BLiP

            I digress. Everyone with half a brain knows this is the perfect opportunity for the incumbents to display strong leadership, and thats what they are doing – and thats what the ‘general public’ are looking for. Kiss 2011 goodbye people, you never stood a chance, even less now.

            You’re right. Everyone with half a brain would think that.

  25. mcflock 25

    I hesitate to assume that nobody else has pointed this out in the hundreds of comments in various places, but has anyone asked why the powers were needed if the govt could draft then pass this bill within a fortnight?

    If there were any actual legislative barriers to reconstruction, couldn’t they have been altered in parliament as and when required?

  26. rob 26

    Yeah, totally gutless stupid and irresponsible. As a Cantabrian and Labour party member, I’m disgusted. This Government have shown their contempt for democracy in many ways. They have taken control of our water and Brendan, yeah, you started to get onto that. Then you hand Mr “Mine, all Mine!” Brownlee power he can only have dreamed of- WITHOUT ASKING US.
    Shame on you- the whole 120.

  27. Rharn 27

    While I share the concerns of most on here about Brownly’s dicatorial powers it seems to me that Labour did its best to soften the legislation, succeeding only on time. Labour still has a long way to go if it is going to have any chance in rolling the Nats. They do not need to be seen as the spoilers in the ‘quake’ reconstruction. In the big picture I think it came down to who do we piss off the most? Party activists or the electorate. Not an easy choice guys. If they want a shot at the treasurary benches they can not afford to give Key any kind if ammunition where Labour are seen being a hindeance on the quake recovery programme.

    • the sprout 27.1

      fair points i guess, although you seem to assume:

      a) activsits are not part of the electorate, and

      b) that Labour’s chances of winning an election are not tied to the support of its activists

      • Rharn 27.1.1

        No assumption on my part Sprout. They are an important part of the electorate no matter what party they belong to. It’s just that they do not make up the majority of the electorate and vote numbers. Labours decision was based on a pragmatic view on how is the electorate going to view their position either for or against the bill. I’ve no doubt their was a lot of hand wringing before they came to the decision they did.

        • Bill

          You a handwringing Labour MP incognito or something? Must be to come out with a howler like…”I’ve no doubt there was a lot of hand wringing before they came to the decision they did”?

          Have you any idea how damning that is? What a slang off that term is? And you’re posing it as a defence of these em, er, ‘hand wringers’.


    • Bill 27.2

      “…it seems to me that Labour did its best to soften the legislation, succeeding only on time.”

      You cannot be being serious Rharn!

      Here’s a wee clip from Russell Normans post on Frogblog where he, quite rightly in my mind, gets buried. He highlights 6 amendments proposed by the Greens and points out that Labour joined with the Nats to vote down 4 of them. Including….

      “We tried to get a 6 month sunset clause written into the Act, with the ability to move a motion to extend it for another 6 months. Nat and Lab opposed.”


      • prism 27.2.1

        Thanks for the link Bill – Russel made it plain what sensible measures the Greens tried to get accepted and were voted out by Labour. He expresses their feelings well when he says ‘with a heavy heart’ they voted it in to assist Canterbury. What did you mean when you said Russel gets buried in Frogblog? I didn’t follow your meaning.

        • Bill

          Most comments on the thread are of the persuasion that the Greens should have voted against the bill. Russell tries to defend the decision to vote for the bill in the comments (13th comment from top) and gets an almost 5 to 1 negative vote rating for his troubles and is so voted down that the comment is in the ‘hidden’ category

        • QoT

          “Buried” as in figuratively (by a shitload of negative comments) and somewhat literally (by having all his own follow-up comments voted down so much they get hidden).

      • Rharn 27.2.2

        Without going into the finer points of this issue Labour were placed in a difficult position. They could have voted against the bill but do not have numbers to prevent its passing and thereby risk the ‘outrage’ of the electorate as being a hinderance to the quake reconstruction. That to me is the nub of the issue. I doubt very much that Goff could have made the points to the electorate at large that the majority of posters on the Standard have with comments. We have a PM who lies cheats rides, roughshod over the democratic process (Ecan) and he still rides high in the polls along with his party. I shudder to think of the salvoes he could unleash at Labour of being a hinderance to the reconstruction. It’s a question of which is the lesser evil in regards to gaining the
        treas. benches next election. That’s how I see this and the reason for Labour’s suport for the bill. Bottomline it comes down to a pragmatic decision.

        • Bill

          So what you’re claiming is that the leader of a social democratic party put any defence of democracy into the ‘too hard’ basket. I mean, let’s be really clear here. You are claiming that the general populace would have been outraged at the leader of a democratic party seeking to defend democracy. And for that reason, democracy had to be ‘let go’.

          • QoT

            I agree with this comment so hard I wish to have its babies.

          • Rharn

            Labour could have voted against the bill, and in doing so opened themselves up as a party against ‘the reconstruction.’ That is how the Nats would have interpreted Labour’s opposition. That is the issue that no one is addressing. The general population would not see labour as defending democracy any more than the general population is as outraged now with the passing of this bill. I accept that this may change with the passing of time but as things stand at present I would be surprised.

            Don’t think for one minute that I do not have concerns I do but I have a bigger concern in that the Nats still look like winers for the next election. Labour still has an outside chance but I am of the opinion that if the Nats could portray Labour in a negative light on quake reconstruction they (Labour) would have ‘no’ chance of winning at all. That’s the position I am coming from. We will just have to agree to disagree.

            • QoT

              Rharn … that’s exactly the point that’s been addressed. That that argument about being seen as unsupportive of Canterbury does not stack up when we consider that any future criticism of Brownlee’s powers will be instantly met with the question, “But didn’t you vote for it?”

              This is, like, the whole argument.

              • Rharn

                Qot that is a fair point in as much as ‘future’ criticism goes but if Labour has any smarts they will not offer any criticism on this. ‘Not a good look’ I agree but Labour does have plenty of ammunition on other issues.

                Only time will tell how this pans out.

                I want Labour to win the next election. My position on this issue is based on that.

                • QoT

                  … Wait. So you actually think that if/when Gerry Brownlee uses his extraordinary powers to basically fuck our democratic principles, Labour should not say anything about it?

                  What a vote-winner. And what about when he uses his powers to do things Labour has already opposed, like lift Schedule 4 protection for mining purposes? Labour should say nothing? I’m actually really confused that you think this is even an option – because even the most ardent defenders of voting for this legislation are still saying “but we’ll watch closely! We’ll scrutinize!”

                  Just to get off topic, a question, Rharn: why do you want Labour to win the next election? Is it because you actually think they have any principles and policies worth voting for, or is it just “well they’re better than National”? Because personally I’ve never been a fan of the notion that any Labour-led government is the best/only option. And if this is how they’re going to keep carrying on, frankly maybe we do need a second term of harsher, plainer rightwing bullshit to shake some sense into them.

                  • Bill

                    Mind if I jump in and repeat a wee detail that cuts to the chase? And it’s merely one of many that I’m sure people will be aware of or that people will be becoming aware of.

                    There is, apparently, a lot of asbestos around pre 1980 chimneys in Christchurch.

                    And so people are being told to get in professional or accredited builders. But there is a mass of regulation surrounding asbestos due to worker and general public health and safety.

                    But if every chimney is double checked for the presence of asbestos and every worker is kitted out with all the protective equipment (full body covering and respirator). And if the transportation and disposal of building materials contaminated with asbestos is carried out by existing licence holders and according to current regulations, then the time taken to comply with the worker H&S and the Public H&S and the Disposal Regs could arguably, to quote the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill 3(c)(i) “divert resources away from the effort to—”
                    3(c)(i)A “efficiently respond to the damage caused by the Canterbury earthquake:”

                    and as such fall into the category of things that

                    3(c)(ii)”may not be reasonably capable of being complied with, or complied with fully, owing to the circumstances resulting from the Canterbury earthquake”

                    And if Gerry makes any such call, then no-body will be able to claim compensation should they develop asbestosis at some later date and nobody will be held accountable because of the Protection from Liability (Clause 19) in the Act.

                    But that’s all okay.

                    Because Labour weighed possible short term negative press and their election prospects against all this type of possibility and more when they made their pragmatic decision to give democracy the long finger.

    • BLiP 27.3

      While I share the concerns of most on here about Brownly’s dicatorial powers it seems to me that Labour did its best to soften the legislation, succeeding only on time.

      In that case, perhaps you can explain why Labour voted against every Green Party attempt to moderate the Act – and, further, how on Earth can they have done “their best” when they voted for it??

      • Rharn 27.3.1

        You would need to ask Goff that.

        Just off the cuff has any made any enquiries into Labour’s thinking into this issue and why they supported the bill and voted against the Green’s amendments.

        • Loota

          Just off the cuff has any made any enquiries into Labour’s thinking into this issue and why they supported the bill and voted against the Green’s amendments.

          The optimistic money is that the Labour vote for the bill and their relative silence on a number of other issues is a strategic approach to giving the Government rope to hang itself with. The noose should be ready by about July/August next year.

          The pessimistic money is that all of this is happening because Labour doesn’t know what else to do at the moment so the default position is to do nothing to rock the boat.

          Both of these scenarios appear to fit the facts.

          • Rharn

            May be some truth in what you say Loota. I’ve taken a few hits on this but all I can say is that I call it as I see it……..as do we all

          • QoT

            I guess we can only hope that the hangman hasn’t fucked up and tied the noose around his own neck too.

  28. Jeremy Harris 28

    If you’re interested in organising against this Act please join the facebook group I’ve started for that purpose:


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