Let them eat oysters

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, May 25th, 2009 - 36 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, economy, john key - Tags:


Remember – March against National’s undemocratic supercity today 25th, noon, Queen St [More info]

Thousands of protesters take to the streets of Auckland today to save local democracy. Key’s response: ‘let them eat oysters’


'If I wolf this lot down, I can nick some off that dude's plate too'

Nah, what he said was the hikoi is  “unlikely to make a difference, is premature and the wrong forum to raise concerns”.

  • He’s the PM so, yeah, it is unlikely to make a difference if he just ignores them. In the short-run. In the long-run it will make him a one-term PM.
  • Premature? Maybe Aucklanders should wait until after democracy has been taken away before complaining? Anyway, he just said he’s not going to change the Supercity. So it’s not like the protesters are being preemptive in damning it.
  • I wonder what the right forum is supposed to be. Can’t fit 10,000+ people in a select committee room. With a minister in charge of the Supercity running the stacked select committee it’s little more than a sick joke anyway.

One thing you can say about Key – he moves fast. Took Clark four and a half years to stuff up so badly that thousands of people to took to the streets in protest against her policies and before she had the arrogance to simply dismiss them. Key’s taken just six months.

36 comments on “Let them eat oysters”

  1. bilbo 1

    A link to what was said may be appropriate …. of course that would not be useful to support the Standard’s usual spin and lies.

    • r0b 1.1

      Oh for goodness sake, it’s only one of “Today’s top stories: in The Herald:


      • Anita 1.1.1

        Yeah, I found that too (bloody Stuff just overwrite their articles – grr) but it’s not in quote marks, which makes it likely that Key said a number of different sentences which some journalist has summarised into that string.

        I hate it when the media does that, I mean I know it’s a way of dealing with waffle and distilling the message, but it means we end up with “says Key” after something which is not a quote.

      • bilbo 1.1.2

        Indeed – now imagine those words coming out of Helen Clarke’s mouth ….. would there be as much faux outrage from this blog ?

        I just wish someone would come clean on what the rates bill is going to be now vs the future under the supercity … this will be what drives Aucklander’s approval/disapproval of the whole enterprise.

        • Anita

          I can’t see how anyone would know what the rates bill will be.

          The rates bills is driven, largely, by the services provided and the financial/investment strategy of the council. There’s no way to know either right now.

          If you want low rates then close all the libraries and parks and pools, clean the streets less often (at least in the poorer parts of town), accept more outages and faults (but allow the wealthy to pay for preferential services), and sell assets quickly – sounds a lot like Banks’ view of the Council to me.

          Many people are interested in the rates-services balance, not just the rates amount.

          • bilbo

            Bollocks there is considerable wastage amongst the councils in the Auckland region . this may not be the case in your neck of the woods but we have had to put up with insanity in this region for many decades ………. ranging from the same pieces of road being resealed at the end of each financial year to the trees being dug up and replanted in Queen St every couple of years to the staff and CEO wages of the councils probably expanding at a far greater rate than the general public to exorbitant resource consents.

            Don’t you think the “wealthy” pay their fair share of rates at the moment ?

            Do you think they should pay more ?

          • Mr Magoo

            Interesting that the prime candidate for the supercity is the same mayor of the council you are complaining about, eh Mr. Baggins?

            But when his precious is many times as large and he has executive powers and your voice is even smaller than it is now…I am sure it will be all for the best.

            Go back to sleep.

    • Anita 1.2

      I went looking for a source, I can’t find that quote attributed directly to Key anywhere. It appears to be a summary of something Key said originating in NZPA, it’s repeated all over the NZ MSM but never in quotes (or not that I could find anyhow – can anyone else?).

      Try this for example.

      So in summary it seems to be how the media are describing what Key said, not the words they say he said.

      • r0b 1.2.1

        A direct quote from the piece that you linked to:

        “I don’t think the hikoi of itself will make any difference really…we are going to go through the select committee process, that’s not a white wash we are actually going to listen to what happens there. We are trying to work on getting an outcome that works for everyone.”

        • Anita

          Yeah exactly, there are things in quote marks (which will be direct quotes) and other things followed by “JK says” which aren’t in quote marks and aren’t direct quotes. It pisses me off 🙂

          (I could usefully note here that I’m interested in the actual language of people not the language of journalists incorrectly attributed to someone else, so this might annoy me more than most. Tho it does trick people into the “quote” in this post which is, in fact, not a direct quote)

        • Kevin Welsh

          And this is the bit that gets me. If thousands turn up to the select committee and say a big fat no to the SuperShitty, does that mean they will can it?

          I don’t think so…

    • Zetetic 1.3

      I don’t support linking every little thing. Makes people lazy. and weak minded If you can’t find a quote, drop it in your google thingie in the control bar. Takes a strange, weak mind to think a quote would just be made up. Would be found out in seconds.

      The Key quote was on the Herald and Stuff. They summarised from a more meandering version he said on Breakfast this morning.

  2. Anita 2

    I don’t think Key likes forums where weight of number counts more than weight of bank balance and/or weight of business reputation/authority. I think he’s fine with Māori having a voice providing they’re wearing tailored suits, attend in ones or twos, and are seated according to their wealth.

    • Pat 2.1

      Geez where did that come from, Anita?

    • bilbo 2.2

      So you’re suggesting Key’s a bigot ?

    • Anita 2.3

      I am saying Key is consistent. He is happy for everyone to have a voice through forums controlled by him and his colleagues, provided that they behave and dress as if they’re successful central city business people, attend as individuals (not groups) and are seated according to their wealth.

      Is that bigotry?

      • bilbo 2.3.1

        So how does this fit with his comment that …… “Obviously people have a right to protest and we respect that.”

        I think your comments about what you believe of Key are just as bigoted as you’re attempting to portray him.

        As an aside I don’t think either of you are bigots/racists etc.

        • Anita

          Saying “people have a right to protest” doesn’t mean he thinks there is any value in protesting or that he’ll pay attention to their protest. In fact I would argue that he has signalled the exact opposite; he respects their right to protest but not their message, their voices or their actions.

          He has signalled repeatedly the kind of forum he prefers and that messages given at those forums do gain his respect.

          We can debate whether his choice of worthwhile forum is bigoted I would actually argue that it will lead to discriminatory outcomes and is part of structural exclusion and discipline of the public sphere but that it comes from selfishness and blindness to others not expressed bigotry but we can probably agree that it is his forum of choice and that choice has consequences.

  3. Mark M 3

    Funny , I thought the march today wasnt about democracy, but demanding seats in council based on race.

    That isnt democracy

  4. Rex Widerstrom 4

    Ah, poor Marie-Antoinette (if indeed it was her that said it, as doubts have since been raised). I recall that phrase being cited years ago as an example of how your misquotes can live on to damn you centuries after you’re dead.

    France was facing a flour shortage, so French law at the time forced bakers to sell both plain and fancy loaves at the same price, so preventing them profiteering by using what flour they could find to make only expensive cakes. So if in fact she said “let them eat cake” it was possible she meant “tough luck for the petty bourgeoise capitalist bakers who’ll have to sell them croissants at the same price” rather than indicating contempt for the starving workers.

    One quote she is certain to have said was, in fact, “It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness”. I added that to my file of political quotes I particularly admire.

    So you might just have inadvertently obliquely paid Key a compliment, Zetetic – sorry (Having said that, I’m enjoying your contributions).

    And having got that piece of pedantry off my chest…

    Took Clark four and a half years to stuff up so badly that thousands of people to took to the streets in protest against her policies and before she had the arrogance to simply dismiss them. Key’s taken just six months.

    Brings to mind another quote about those not understanding history being doomed to repeat it. But usually it’s not quite so recent history. One would have to be particularly stupid or particularly arrogant (or both) to go behaving like Clark in her latter years and not expect to have people react in precisely the same way.

    I can only assume there must be a especially generous hand-out package waiting for release during the last year of this term if they hope to erase the ill-feeling they seem set on generating in the first two.

  5. Helen 5

    Thousands of protesters take to the streets of Auckland today to save local democracy

    Giving one minority group more representation than everybody else is not democracy.

    Thankfully, New Zealand now has a government which is prepared to defend democracy, to take away the special, anti-democratic privileges enjoyed by the welfare and criminal classes.

  6. greenfly 6

    Key is pictured shovelling raw oysters down his gullet at the Bluff Oyster Festival, surely one of the planets most obscene events, celebrating as it does, greed and gluttony for those with money and complete disregard for a threatened resource (the oysters) and environment (the sea floor of Foveaux Strait from which the oysters are dredged.

  7. Mark M 7


    the status quo is Maori receive exactly the same representation as the rest of us.
    That is what democracy is about.
    They can put up as many candidates as they like and get their people to vote for them.
    Just like Chinese people , just like Scottish people , Just like Gay people , just like single white females etc.

    What they do with the democratic opportunity is up to them.

    If you add something to that ,which no other group has ,that is more representation.

    • Anita 7.1

      Mark M,

      In a council which has Māori wards now individual Māori have the exact same amount of representation as an individual non-Māori. They difference is that they vote in a Māori ward instead of a general ward.

      • turgid 7.1.1

        Why do we need Maori wards ?

        Why do we need any wards based on race …….. doesn’t make sense to me.

        • Anita

          Why do we have wards at all?

          IMO we have wards to group together people with similar needs from their Council. I live in the Onslow ward, in theory we vote together as a ward because it means that our particular community has its particular needs represented.

          Thus if the particular needs or Māori are better identified by grouping Māori together than by grouping suburbs together, it would be consistent to have a Māori ward to allow their particular needs to be represented.

          What would the downside of that be?

          NB There’s an argument at least as strong founded in mana whenua.

  8. David S. 8

    Maori seats are not based on race, they’re based on the treaty of Waitangi. The crown – the government, made a specific agreement with a specific group of people, and I for one think that a government is obligated to uphold any agreement that it makes. When the crown broke that agreement by confiscating maori land, their communities were broken up, many were forced to move to city’s like Auckland. Since our electoral systems are based on community representation, the addition of maori seats offers to these individuals the same representation they would have had if that agreement had not been broken by the crown.

    I think it would be unrealistic for maori to think that the treaty can be upheld completely, but do think that it is imperitive that an acceptable compromise is found that all sides can agree on, otherwise we risk undermining the legitimacy of our laws and governance.

    Referring to maori seats as “race based” is racist. I say this because they are not based on race, they are based on and justified by the treaty of Waitangi. I for one have no problem with them as long as :

    A: The number of seats is proportional to the number of maori voting in that “electorate”.

    B: We retain community based represention.

    Personally I think the move to purely proportional representional systems would be better than our current mishmash, and would remove the both justification and need for maori seats. Maori would be equally represented under such a system.

    • Swampy 8.1

      As everyone knows the treaty is a matter of interpretation. Regardless of the situation the Ngapuhi fella saying they are entitled to half the seats is not likely to go down well with a lot of people except for the minority that vote for the Maori Party. Giving away half the seats purely on racial grounds when the rest of them are not selected the same way is a bit of a stretch to see that as democratic. And the Maori party I think is now saying that they should start giving out seats to Pasifika in a few years time. Why don’t we just do away with any notion that people are elected for the common good and create guaranteed seats for every minority group. You know, seats for women, seats for gays, Indians and what have you.

      That is what happens when this sort of thing gets out of control. The reality is that local government politics has to be reflective of the parliamentary system and process. In the Parliament the Maori electorates are created on the same populational basis as the general electorates. There is no wider political will to have any more seats than that or seats for other specific minorities. That is the political reality that the campaigners had best get into their skulls.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    This is all going very sour for Key and co.

    The other scraps between Ministers will come and go, but this one is different. There is no “agree to disagree” escape clause for the Maori Party and ACT, because the issue goes to the very heart of their portfolios.

    The Royal Commission recommended Maori seats (of 2 types).

    The Minister of Local Government rejected them, and the Prime Minister agreed.

    The Minister of Maori Affairs joined the Hikoi today, and he believes he has got the PM to reconsider (and said so today).

    The Minister of Local Government disagrees. He remains opposed to Maori seats (and said so today). He thinks the PM supports him.

    One of them must lose.

    And then resign.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Sharples cannot openly join a protest hikoi against Govt policy AND remain a member of that Cabinet. He is legally bound by Cabinet Collective Responsibility to support Cabinet policy and no amount of wriggle or spin will change that fact.

      Someone MUST resign. If Key just shrugs his shoulders, then he is complicit in breaking the law as well.

      It’s been said by others, but I’m astounded at just how quickly this govt is heading off the rails.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1

        Key will give Sharples some seats, Hide will back down and follow Cabinet.

        The govt will say ‘See, we did listen, the consultation was not a farce”, and not give in other areas, (like wards vs at large, or subordinate councils having any authority).

        The left mustn’t fall for any temptations to pander to rednecks about any ‘separatism’ bullshit. Voters that might fall for that won’t be voting Labour.

        Instead, focus on the supercity issues that remain defective. Effective community representation, privatisation, community assets and amenities, etc.

        Those issues affect Auckland Maori too, and they will soon bank any gains they can get from the maori Party via the coalition. The left should be offering ‘seats+’. If the National party wants to make Maori seats bi-partisan, that’s a win for our team, but not if we let bloody hotheaded idiots run off at the mouth supposing a short term gain. (I’m looking at you Cosgrove)

        For gawds sake don’t drive them away by falling for NACT’s wedge.

        The interesting question will be whether those Maori seats come from the ‘at large’ pool or not. Will they change the balance of power in the gerrymander? If not, then why would Hide care?

        • Helen


          “rednecks” = “law abiding tax payers.”

          No more Apartheid prima inter pares for the criminals and the welfare beneficiaries. It’s time for New Zealand to return to democracy.

  10. Swampy 10

    The select committee is where people should expect to be listened to. I wouldn’t put up with a bunch of unkempt protesters threatening to be more aggressive any more than I would put up with a bunch of wharfies on a picket line trying to stop people going about their business.

  11. Swampy 11

    Now let’s just get a handle on PR systems, it is really a case of a vested interest group pushing for PR that is very hard to understand and administer all for a bunch of political junkies.

    All PR systems are basically pandering to political parties, they are all electoral systems for the interests of politicians first.

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