When it comes to listening to the public, National promise “jam tomorrow”. Don’t believe them. When tomorrow comes we’ll get squat instead. Two examples from the Auckland Supercity process. First, remember how Key responded to the Hikoi for Maori seats on the new Council:
The right forum to raise concerns was through the parliamentary process, he said. The select committee soon to start looking at legislation setting up the council would consider the issues raised by the protest, Mr Key said. It would look at the governance structure, how councillors were elected and issues around Maori representation. “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.”
Wait for jam tomorrow! And – what complete and utter bullshit that turned out to be. Before the select committee had even finished it was announced that there would be no Maori seats:
Ngati Whatua spokesman Ngarimu Blair has criticised the Government for not allowing democracy to run its course. He said Maori had followed the democratic process – going through a Royal Commission which recommended Maori seats, then going through the select committee where Mr Blair claimed 90 per cent of submitters had supported Maori seats. Yet the Government had made a decision on Maori seats before the select committee process was finished. … he said Ngati Whatua were glad they at least knew the Government’s views now rather than continue a “masquerade” of consultation.
Second example – the Human Rights Commission has just called National on the Auckland consultation process:
Aucklanders were told throughout the first and second bills that specific details that concerned them would be addressed in the third bill.
Wait for jam tomorrow! But, same story, when tomorrow came the process was a sham:
Super city consultation a mockery
The short timeframe of nine weeks (including the Christmas-New Year holiday break) for submissions to the third Auckland governance bill makes a mockery of democracy, according to the Human Rights Commission.
It’s not just a matter of broken promises (tax cuts North of $50!). It’s a deliberate strategy for suppressing dissenting opinions. Tell the grumpy public “wait wait, we’ll fix it later”, then when the heat has died down there’s a sham process and a fait accompli. Like the constant abuse of urgency, this is a way of shutting us out of decision making. Don’t get fooled again…