Clown incites lawbreaking.

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 am, February 5th, 2009 - 56 comments
Categories: act, national/act government - Tags:

The ClownClown

Rodney Hide is the Minister of Local Government. He is also the lead clown of the long-time opposition circus that is the ACT party. It appears that he has the two roles confused. He is advocating that people ignore the law on gaining building permissions.

Local governments enforce those building regulations. Those regulations are there to prevent disasters like leaky buildings. Rodney is the minister in charge of the local bodies who enforce those expression of parliamentary legislation. Can anyone see the conflict here?

The circus that is ACT hasn’t garnered much respect over the years apart from a small rather vocal minority of self-interested supporters. The party and its leading lights appear to be even worse in government. For instance their strange views on the role of the committee looking at the ETS. The Nats and Peter Dunne want to look at the detail. Act wants to waste money on inadequate science.

This latest display of poor judgement brings their reputation to a new low. It detracts from the ability of the government and parliament to pass and then enforce the legislation. After all they might not have meant what they wrote, and anyway if a minority of government gets a ministry then they can do what they want, regardless of the will of parliament.

John Key should remove Rodney as minister in charge of local government. Perhaps parliament should look at censuring him for lowering the respect of the house and the laws it passes.

For the detail on this issue, well I’m going to just quote Idiot/Savant in full because he writes so clearly….

One of ACT’s key platforms last election was law and order. They pushed for tougher sentences, “three strikes and you’re in”, and they stacked their list with refuse from the Sensible Sentencing Trust (including death penalty advocate David Garrett, who is now their “law and order” spokesperson. So you’d expect them to take a pretty strong view on lawbreaking, right?

Wrong. ACT leader Rodney Hide is going around recommending businesses break the law whenever it is inconvenient for them:

TVNZ’s Close Up programme last night said Christchurch businessman Gary Bull had been told by his local council that if he wanted to build a shower for his employees then he had to make it wheelchair accessible.

[…]

Asked if Mr Bull should ignore the law and “do it on the sly”, Mr Hide said “Look as a minister I can’t recommend breaking the law, but I believe he should.”

Asked if that was not an extraordinary thing for a minister to say, Mr Hide replied it was, but it was not possible for people to comply with the law.

Asked again if he was advising Mr Bull to break the law, Mr Hide replied that since he had been on TV the council might frown upon it, but he personally would take issue with a council for “running over this guy”.

This is simply extraordinary. Hide isn’t just a minister, but the minister in charge of the sector responsible for policing the Act. And he’s not only saying “break the law”, but also offering his personal protection for doing so. In other words, behaving like a feudal gangster.

The Cabinet Manual requires Ministers to “act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards”. Do you think this is the case? Answers to j.key@ministers.govt.nz

56 comments on “Clown incites lawbreaking.”

  1. BLiP 1

    Act Law and Order Policy:

    ” . . . The failure to control crime undermines our communities and is ultimately a cost to all. ACT’s top priority in government is to increase the law and order vote by one billion dollars ($1000 million) in order to achieve a “zero tolerance for crime” policy, implemented and working effectively within 12 months. This will include an increase in police numbers, reintroducing community policing, and a focus on victims’ rights rather than criminals’ rights . . . ”

    Definition of hypocrisy:

    ” n. hy·poc·ri·sy

    pl. hy·poc·ri·sies

    1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
    2. An act or instance of such falseness.”

  2. Ari 2

    Maybe he subscribes to the Cheney view of legality where it’s not illegal if the government does it.

  3. Tripod 3

    This is great! I guess Rodney will be speaking up the next time someone breaks the law because of an unjust situation, such as an unlawful strike to prevent a factory closure.

  4. 123 4

    Yea, you would be right if the Council hadn’t been found to be wrong.

    “Cabinet Minister Rodney Hide’s advice that a businessman should build a shower without adhering to council requests has been backed by a decision that the council was in the wrong in the first place.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10555260

  5. TightyRighty 5

    Ari, the last government did that and look where it got them? No, Hide is a little bit smarter than Labour, and winston.

  6. @ work 6

    Might have to OIA a list of other laws that this government recomends breaking.

    Blip: Doesn’t ACT’s tough on crime status specifically exclude assult on a child? (which i’m sure would go down great right now!)

  7. peteremcc 7

    He clearly said that as a Minister he couldn’t advise that, but his personal opinion was that they should ignore it.

    Turns out the council hadn’t bothered reading the building code anyway, and that the shower doesn’t have to be accessible:

    http://actoncampus.org.nz/blog/shower_video

  8. @ work 8

    “Turns out the council hadn’t bothered reading the building code anyway, and that the shower doesn’t have to be accessible:”

    He still reccomended breaking the law when he didnt know that.

    Had this been labour it would be the end of the world over on kiwiblog. Is Farrar bound by some kind of Collective Cabinet Bloggers Responsibility, not to critisize the government?

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    “He clearly said that as a Minister he couldn’t advise that, but his personal opinion was that they should ignore it.”

    So when he said that he personally would take issue with a council for “running over this guy’. he wasn’t talking about himself as minister. He was saying he’d write them a letter or something, as an Aucklander.

    “”Look as a minister I can’t recommend breaking the law, but I believe he should.’

    A equals A’ etc.

  10. randal 10

    wodney and his ilk are experts at arguing from the particular to the general and bleating about anything that doesn’t suit them
    another example of infantilised adults making their own rules
    how can we enjoy peace and quiet in our communities when limpdicks like wodney are advising rugged individuals to ignore the laws and rules that are supposed to make life tolerable and just doing what they like because they have no idea of what a standard anda priniciple and furthermore dont care

  11. John Dalley 11

    petermscc – Rodney is a MP & Cabinet Minister, he doesn’t get a personal opinion only his Ministerial one.

    @work – I dubbed dpf “cheif press officer” outside government in a previous post. Nothing has changed as fare as David is concerned.

  12. higherstandard 12

    Slow news day today ?

    Seems to me that the chap who was trying to do the right thing by his staff and build a shower for his employees if they “f they biked to work or jogged at lunchtime” was being stymied by a pedantic idiot in the council – if Hide can sort do anything to sort out these buffoons good on him but I’m not going to hold my breath as it appears the most local governments in NZ are as chock full of morons as the mob in central government.

  13. @ work 13

    Maybe Rodney secretly loves red tape, cause I can gurantee there will be a hell of a lot more red tape when he wants to sell a building in which the plans dont match the structure than there is be to put a shower in, in the first place.

  14. I think Rodney was wrong

    http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/13135/

    he can argue all he likes, but in my view he was wrong

    I am not sure that the Herald article quoted above vindicates Rodney. It appears to give discretion to the Council, not an automatic clearance

  15. peteremcc 15

    @ work,

    don’t worry, we’ll be getting rid of that red tape too!

  16. Tigger 16

    This is further proof that Rodney has no idea how to govern…

    Let’s wait till someone dies because of shoddy building work that wasn’t permitted and they claim they did it because ‘Rodney said we should ignore the councils…’

  17. Pascal's bookie 17

    we’ll be getting rid of that red tape too

    But you don’t need to peter. Just ignore the tape. The minister said that’s ok, and the Herald has vindicated him. A equals A’.

  18. peteremcc 18

    “Let’s wait till someone dies because of shoddy building work that wasn’t permitted and they claim they did it because ‘Rodney said we should ignore the councils ‘”

    Yep, because if any activity involves any risk of injury or harm whatsoever, the the government needs to regulate it and make sure people aren’t hurting themselves.

    Or… people could take some responsibility themselves.

    Rodney didn’t say they should ignore councils, he said that he thinks we should let people opt out of the regulations if they’re willing to take the responsibility off the council.

  19. Pat 19

    “Let’s wait till someone dies because of shoddy building work that wasn’t permitted and they claim they did it because ‘Rodney said we should ignore the councils ‘ ”

    Just a little bit over the top …

    Most people would think that having major renovations permitted should continue. The problem is that the permit process is onerous and overly costly. This is what needs sorting out.

    Putting in a shower should not qualify as a major renovation. We have put off renovating our shower because the permit costs would be $5K. So the builder and plumber miss out on some work, but council costs make a simple renovation prohibitive.

  20. @ work 20

    peteremcc :
    “Rodney didn’t say they should ignore councils, he said that he thinks we should let people opt out of the regulations if they’re willing to take the responsibility off the council.”

    I’m fairly sure ACT’s policy on personal responsibility is that is only applies to poor and brown people.

    Maybe you could help me with my list of other laws that are ok to break under a right wing government? I’ve got a long journey in the weekend, maybe you could ask Mr Joyce if it’s ok for me to speed on some of the longer straight open bits? (I’ll be careful, I promise)

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    Pat, most people might agree. Most people aren’t ministers of the crown though. If a minister of the crown thinks the law is an ass, see, s/he has certain courses of action available to them. Like fixing the fucking law rather than just telling everyone to ignore it.

  22. higherstandard 22

    lots of strawmen being constructed … is it the 5th of November ?

  23. BLiP 23

    Petermcc said:

    ” . . . Rodney didn’t say they should ignore councils, he said that he thinks we should let people opt out of the regulations if they’re willing to take the responsibility off the council . . . ”

    You mean like those paragons of free enterprise, the developers of the leaky homes? The ones that ducked and dived through shell companies before being dragged kicking and screaming into court? Those are the types of business people Hide is encouraging.

  24. BLiP 24

    HS said:

    ” . . .lots of strawmen being constructed is it the 5th of November ? . . . ”

    Hehehe – nah, just bored. Anyway, taking on the argument of those seeking to obfusticate Hide’s hyporcrisy and dampen logical consequences is rather like pulling wings of a fly. More amusing to bait them.

    I note that your contribution to the discussion is to abuse public servants. Well done, very constructive.

  25. peteremcc 25

    I?m fairly sure ACT?s policy on personal responsibility is that is only applies to poor and brown people.

    Do please elaborate, this is news to me!

  26. peteremcc 26

    You mean like those paragons of free enterprise, the developers of the leaky homes? The ones that ducked and dived through shell companies before being dragged kicking and screaming into court? Those are the types of business people Hide is encouraging.

    That’s what happens when you start spreading responsibility onto councils and government and all sorts of other places with laws that are meant to protect the consumer (that worked so well!).

    If it were a true free enterprise in a free market, they would be responsible for their work, they would go to court and they’d be held responsible. It would have saved the councils a whole load of money too.

  27. Felix 27

    “Rodney didn’t say they should ignore councils, he said that he thinks we should let people opt out of the regulations if they’re willing to take the responsibility off the council.”

    Actually Peter, he said both of those things. But he definitely did say he believed the guy should break the law.

  28. Felix 28

    “maybe you could ask Mr Joyce if it’s ok for me to speed on some of the longer straight open bits?”

    I reckon that’s fine. You should feel free to drive on the other side of the road where it’s convenient too – save you a bit of time.

    The Labour govt wasted billions of our $$ painting those stupid “white tape” lines down all the roads as if we don’t know which side to drive on.

    So sick of the bloody nanny state telling us where and how we can drive. How about a bit of personal responsibility on the roads?

  29. BLiP 29

    Petermcc said:

    ” . . . If it were a true free enterprise in a free market, they would be responsible for their work, they would go to court and they’d be held responsible. It would have saved the councils a whole load of money too. . . ”

    They are responsible for their work, they are in court, they are being held to account. And all this without the “free market” because, Peter, the “free market” doesn’t exist; it never has and it never will. It is a concept used by school teachers to introduce children to the theory of economics. Some children never progress past this introductory stage.

  30. Tigger 30

    Felix – so now the speed limit is Nanny State? Liberterianz much? Hey, I should be able to monitor my own drinking and driving too so no need for rules about that. And why can’t I drive where I want to – if I want to drive wrong way down one way streets and speed through school zones, so long as I’m responsibe for that then who cares?

    Stop trying to pain basic law and order issues as PC gone mad. We live in a society and that means rules – without rules we might as well all grab our pitchforks and kill anyone who annoys us.

  31. higherstandard 31

    Felix would you like me to send you a pitchfork ?

  32. Matthew Pilott 32

    Tigger – Felix being sarcastic.

    ACT’s idea of personal responsibility is an interesting one.

    Say they got their way and all these pesky rules go down the toilet, out the window and up in a smokey back-yard bonfire.

    Someone builds a house as they see fit, and five years later, sell the house.

    What happens here? Is it a case of buyer beware, in which case you’d have to spend about $15,000 for a thorough building inspection before even thinking about buying the house? How else could you be sure without decent regulations (I mean red tape)?

    Is it still the personal responsibility of the person who built the thing if there was some fundamental flaw? How long is a piece of personal responsibility? 5 years? 25? Design lifetime of the building? Until they go bankrupt, are absolved of all personal responsibility and scarper off?

    Honestly, two minutes of thought and you realise ACT can’t think rationally past the immediate consequences of their ideas (i.e. no red tape = lots of building and growth, and that’s about it).

  33. Greg 33

    “The circus that is ACT hasn’t garnered much respect over the years apart from a small rather vocal minority of self-interested supporters. The party and its leading lights appear to be even worse in government. For instance their strange views on the role of the committee looking at the ETS. The Nats and Peter Dunne want to look at the detail. Act wants to waste money on inadequate science.”

    You should check out Act on Campus. They’re a pretty vocal group and its certainly not in their (short term) self interest to vote act. Your respect for Act is only limited because you disagree with them. Have a chat to their MPs and you’ll quickly figure out they’re pretty intelligent people – I’ve seen a few lefties go into a political debate with Mr Hide and come out reconsidering their political views.

    I think the Greens economic policy is mad, but I still respect some of their MPs. Can you not respect someone you disagree with?

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    Can you not respect someone you disagree with?

    Not when you’ve read the “taxpayers’ rights bill”.

  35. higherstandard 35

    MP

    What has been forgotten amongst all the straw flying about is what this chap was trying to do and why the council was giving him grief.

  36. Pascal's bookie 36

    hs, that hasn’t been forgotten. It’s just not the point of the discussion. The point is what Rodders said, and how that fits in under quaint old notions like the rule of law, the cabinet manual, what rodney said about that sort of thing just a few months ago. stuff like that.

    As a rule of thumb, if you find that everyone else in the discussion is talking about something differently from yourself, then the chances are that it ain’t them that’s constructing a strawman.

  37. Greg 37

    “Not when you’ve read the “taxpayers’ rights bill’.”

    Have you read the taxpayer rights bill? How dare the plebs have rights!

  38. higherstandard 38

    PB

    It seems to me in this instance Hyde was spot on.

    The strawmen as you well know are coming from those that suggest his comments give a carte blanche to those wanting to speed, murder etc etc

  39. @ work 39

    He’s a government minister who suggested that a member of the public break the law. It’s as simple as that HS.

  40. peteremcc 40

    What happens here? Is it a case of buyer beware, in which case you’d have to spend about $15,000 for a thorough building inspection before even thinking about buying the house? How else could you be sure without decent regulations (I mean red tape)?

    You’re starting to get it Matthew.
    Yes you might want to get an inspection, that might cost $15,000 (that sounds high to me though), but NO you wouldn’t have to.
    You would get to choose whether to take the risk or not.
    In other words, pretty much the same as when you buy a car now.

    Of course, even if you did pay $15,000 for an inspection, you’re probably saving money overall, because the price of the house is likely to be much lower because the cost of building has been greatly reduced, more land has been opened up for development and there is more competition between sellers.

    Starting to make sense now?

  41. Pascal's bookie 41

    hs, You think Cabinet ministers should suggest we just ignore the laws that we think are stupid?

  42. lprent 42

    Greg: I have respect for people’s that don’t suggest things that are inherently stupid and damaging to society as a whole.

    Suggesting that people should disobey the law when you are the minister for that portfolio is just plain stupid or lazy or both. In other words what got up my nose here was the misuse of the position.

    There is a reason for MP’s generally not inciting people to break the law. It reduces the respect for the laws that parliament makes. For a minister to do so in their own portfolio is an order of magnitude more stupid.

    If he doesn’t wish to live within the responsibilities of being a minister – then the position should be removed from him.

    On the personality side – I’ve never met the clown or any of the circus myself so I’m just going on what has been reported. To me the ACT caucus appears to be largely incoherent and full of ideas that make little sense when you put them all together. The Nat’s I can understand and to a degree respect becaus ethey do have a largely coherent view of society. ACT seems to operate on the basis of a number of blind faiths (like the climate change deniers I meet here) – which I have a problem with.

  43. higherstandard 43

    PB

    Stop building strawmen you buffoon.

  44. Pascal's bookie 44

    hs, that thing 5 feet to your left and 4 above your head? That would be the point.

  45. BLiP 45

    HS said:

    ” . . . Stop building strawmen you buffoon . . . ”

    One more time: The Minister in charge of the related law said it was okay to break that law.

    If that is your idea of the higher standards we expect from our representatives, then it is you who is the bufoon.

  46. peteremcc 46

    And all this without the “free market’ because, Peter, the “free market’ doesn’t exist; it never has and it never will. It is a concept used by school teachers to introduce children to the theory of economics.

    You’re right, we haven’t had a free-market, so it would be nice if you all stopped blaming the current economic situation on free-market policies.

    Oh, and I wish it was taught by school teachers!

  47. jbc 47

    Hyde’s instruction to “break the law” reminds me of the traffic cop who came to our school for a talk and Q&A session with senior students (probably 1985) and essentially told us to ignore the speed limit when overtaking (within reason). Don’t stay on the other side of the road for any longer than necessary.

    This was in response to some smart-arse asking: “What if we want to pass a car that is travelling 2km/h under the speed limit? Do we crawl past at the speed limit?”

    Anyhow, the local townsfolk didn’t chase the officer with pitchforks for instructing their dearest to break the law. I guess they saw it as an example of that rare commodity (especially when it comes to law): common sense.

  48. Matthew Pilott 48

    Starting to make sense now?

    No Petermc, it doesn’t. Why spend huge amounts and have to take risks when you could ensure everything was at a decent standard in the first place? You seem to have mistaken my scathing appraisal for the idea with me putting it forward as a good idea.

    I reckon $15,000 would be what you’d need to get a builder to do a thorough inspection of everything, then get a plumber and electrician to do the same, because without decent regulations you’ve got no idea what could have been done badly. If it sounds high to you it’s probably because you haven’t thought past the first order of effects from what you propose.

    That’s rubbish about buying a car, because there are strong import regulations, and for old used cars there is a manageable cost in getting a check. I’d also suggest that when your car breaks down, it won’t ruin your life like it will when your house breaks down. That’s why you’d have stronger regulations around selling used houses than you would with used cars. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation.

    Classic baby with bathwater stuff peter – ‘regulations are costly (but effective, as illustrated by what happens when they were weakened and houses got eaten by weather) so let’s get rid of them altogether’. Why not make them cheaper to comply with?

  49. BLiP 49

    Petermc said :

    ” . . . You’re right, we haven’t had a free-market, so it would be nice if you all stopped blaming the current economic situation on free-market policies . . . ”

    Not me. I blame those who think a free market is a good thing. If you want to get all anal and semantic about it, just read “free-market type” policies. Might make it a little easier for you to understand the arguments if you are still bogged down in definitions.

  50. peteremcc 50

    So, which parts of the financial sector in the US were in the most trouble (hint: banks).
    And which part of the financial sector were the most regulated (hint: banks).

    I’d gladly pay 15k to make sure a house was suitable, if I the house was 40k cheaper to start with because of the lack of regulation.

    You’re also assuming that with the increased regulation (and cost) that you’re guaranteed of not having trouble. What happens when you do?

  51. BLiP 51

    Petermcc said:

    ” . . . So, which parts of the financial sector in the US were in the most trouble (hint: banks).
    And which part of the financial sector were the most regulated (hint: banks). . . . ”

    Maybe that’s the case in Lilliput or where ever you live – here in the real world the banks weren’t regulated enough and, further, what little regulations were in place, were not enforced. Can I suggest you invest some time in getting your facts right, although it is quite fun watching you make a fool of yourself.

  52. Matthew Pilott 52

    Greg, are you going to try and whack me with the if-we-don’t-have-the-Taxpayers-Rights-Bill-then-we-have-no-rights strawman? Because it won’t hurt, and I’ll point and laugh at you.

    Peter: So, which parts of the financial sector in the US were in the most trouble (hint: banks).
    And which part of the financial sector were the most regulated (hint: banks).

    Wrong, and wrong, Peter. The institutions that caused all this shit, and subsequently paid the price or were bailed by the govt were not regulated banks, but financial institutions acting like banks did decades ago, before they were regulated. Can you see any form of cause & effect there?

  53. higherstandard 53

    BLIP

    One more time for you.

    ….. the minister said…

    “Mr Hide, who is the minister responsible for local government and regulatory reform, said the Building Act and its associated regulations were a major headache for the public.

    Asked if Mr Bull should ignore the law and “do it on the sly”, Mr Hide said “Look as a minister I can’t recommend breaking the law, but I believe he should.”

    “Asked if that was not an extraordinary thing for a minister to say, Mr Hide replied it was, but it was not possible for people to comply with the law.
    Asked again if he was advising Mr Bull to break the law, Mr Hide replied that since he had been on TV the council might frown upon it, but he personally would take issue with a council for “running over this guy”.”

    and this was in relation to …

    ‘Christchurch businessman Gary Bull had been told by his local council that if he wanted to build a shower for his employees then he had to make it wheelchair accessible.
    Mr Bull said this had increased the budget for the work from $2000 to $10,000 which he could not afford.
    His business did not employ anyone who needed wheelchair access and Mr Bull said he just wanted to give his employees a place to shower if they biked to work or jogged at lunchtime.

    Furthermore this has now been investigated further to suggest that

    “The Building Code does provide room for local authorities to exercise judgment when existing buildings are being altered. In this case, an accessible shower would only be required if there was more than one shower being installed.”

    The council in this instance should f off and let the business owner build the shower for his staff.

    And you are clearly a buffoon with two fs

    Let’s have enforcement of regulations where and when appropriate.

  54. SjS 54

    Has anybody bothered to check whether the Council actually said that Mr Bull needed a wheel chair shower? i.e. did they write to him and say, or did someone just tell Mr Bull that the Council requires all showers to be wheel chair accessible?

  55. So..

    .. Mr Hide said “Look as a minister I can’t recommend breaking the law, but I believe he should.’

    … we now have a plot or confirmation of responsibility

    Since.. to the fellow’s declaration on radionz rashional I believe in the freedom to make mistakes we now have coordinates to suggest an expanded – likely undelegated – Ministerial role — that is the Minister shall direct mistakes as well as believe in them.

    [lprent: fixed tag problem]

  56. James 56

    Rodney was spot on.The law is an ass and should be ignored.Also as it requires a violation of an individuals rights to his liberty and property it is invalid anyway.Good law is that which protects pre-existinf natural,individual rights…this law doesn’t so it can be ignored with moral impunity.

    While obeying the law is important to avoid chaos there comes a point where to obey a bad law is itself destructive of civilization and mans right to life as man.Hiding Jews from the Nazis was against the law in cirra 1940’s Germany but would anyone here argue that it was wrong to do so…?

    When the State enacts bad law it must be ressisted and changed…..passive non complience is the start.

    [lprent: So? I’d agree with all of that except the first sentence – you obviously didn’t read the post.

    Rodney is in the perfect position to do something about a law that he doesn’t like – he is the MINISTER in charge of local government! Rather than going out and inciting civil disobedience, why doesn’t get get off his acre and do something about it?

    So why did you ignore that crucial (and main) point of the post. Are you simply a stupid troll plowing through standard lines without engaging your brain? Should I start to treat you as a rogue and rather simple minded program?]

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