Eighteen months ago, in what can only be described as a coup, the government disestablished the democratically-elected Environment Canterbury and replaced it with a clique of hand-picked dictators. In Question Time this afternoon, Nick Smith used a patsy question to justify that move:
In  Environment Canterbury processed only 29 percent of consents within the statutory time frames. The latest report shows that there has been a dramatic improvement. Within the last year 92 percent of resource consents have been processed on time. This improvement from 29 percent, when Labour was in Government, to 92 percent now is a real credit to the work of the commissioners and their staff. It is a relief for the thousands of homeowners, businesses, and farmers who have previously been held up by poor processes. With the rebuild of Canterbury it is particularly important that we have efficient resource consent processing, so that we can rebuild Canterbury.
Or, to put it another way, turning Canterbury into a dictatorship made the trains (or rather the RMA) run on time. A certain short Italian used the same “justification” for taking over Italy; it wasn’t acceptable then, and its not acceptable now. Government is not about efficiency; it is about control. And one thing is clear: the people of Canterbury now no longer control their regional council.
Meanwhile, I was going to joke about how this set a bad precedent for the government’s response to its Unmentionable Sporting Event failures. But I see Murray McCully has beaten me to it.
I’d just note that Mussolini didn’t actually make the trains run on time. It’s a myth. Much like the claim Nick Smith’s dictatorship is the reason that resource consents have been more timely in Canterbury. I would suggest it’s the fact that the number of consents has dropped off a cliff since the earthquakes.