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NRT: National’s tyranny

Written By: - Date published: 1:55 pm, October 30th, 2012 - 43 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, local body elections, local government, national, water - Tags: , ,

No Right Turn on the overthrow of local democracy in Canterbury…

National’s tyranny

So, its out there in the open: National explicitly suspended Canterbury’s democracy because they feared voters would vote to protect the environment from rapacious farmers:

The Government suspended democracy and restricted legal action in Canterbury to protect an agriculture boom potentially worth more than $5 billion to the national economy, documents reveal. It feared the economic boom promised by Canterbury irrigation could be in jeopardy unless Environment Canterbury (ECan) was “stable, effective and efficient”, says a Government report on August 27.


A separate Government document, disclosed to The Press under the Official Information Act, says the protection of Canterbury’s economic contribution and its future growth were a “key consideration” for suspending democracy.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said irrigation and the environment would have been threatened if the commissioners’ terms had not been extended. The Canterbury Water Management Strategy has an end target of 850,000ha within the next 50 years.


A Government document, disclosed to The Press under the Official Information Act, reveals that this needs to be continued because there is a “strong risk” people could revert to appealing to the Environment Court.

In case its not clear enough: the cost of that irrigation boom is poisoning Canterbury’s rivers. Canterbury voters don’t want this; in the 2007 ECan elections they elected four councillors specifically on an anti-irrigation ticket, and this trend looked likely to continue. And that is why the government acted. Likewise, the persistence of the community in standing up for their environment and challenging dubious irrigation decisions was the reason National removed those rights.

Suppressing democracy and suspending the rule of law because you don’t like the outcome is the action of a tyrant. It is exactly what happened inAlgeria in 1991 and Burma in 1990 and what is likely to happen in Fiji in 2014. And if National is willing to do this to local government, what’s to stop them from wheeling out the same arguments to suspend Parliamentary elections to prevent “socialists” from wrecking their “economic recovery” (you know, the one with no jobs, but half million dollar bonuses to CEOs)?

National’s actions in Canterbury call their commitment to democracy into question. They can no longer be trusted to be responsible players in a democratic system. They must be voted out, and kept out of power until it is clear that they accept democracy.


43 comments on “NRT: National’s tyranny”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    I wonder how many people who believed the Attack on Democracy headlines of the NZHerald and others are now feeling sheepish now that Nationals antidemocratic and authoritarian bent is in full view.

    • bbfloyd 1.1

      Probably less than 20% of those you mention…After all…. It was the labour party that was being attacked…. Most national supporters accept with equanimity the fact that national has NEVER stood for true democracy, just democracy for the “right” people…..

  2. weka 2

    Ok, so what can we do? (other than waiting for the next general election, and btw, what are Labour saying about all this?).
    Is there an activist group that needs donations?

  3. Peter 3

    What remains surprising is how muted the opposition to this is. I suspect that’s a simple reality of the earthquake recovery priorities superseding anything at ECan. The other reality is that the zone committee process has rebuilt relationships on the water issue at a local level.

    • Richard Christie 3.1

      I’m surprised that you’re surprised.
      Sleepy hobbits and all that.

    • Stephen 3.2

      My observation as a relative new-comer to Christchurch is that the current set up benefits the rural part of the ECAN electorate at the expense of the rights of the urban part. And many of those people are too exhausted, or too busy, or too cynical after two years of authoritarianism and struggle to get their lives back on track.

  4. What is going on in this country??

    Doesn’t any one care anymore?

    Is this the results of disaster capitalism being applied to us?

    When will we stop following the “trust-them,-they-are-authorities,-they-[must]-know-what-they-are-doing” mentality?

  5. vto 5

    I’ve punched out plenty of comments on this dictatorship and the ugly theft that it is so won’t repeat except to outline it thus…

    This government and its farmer voters couldn’t achieve their farming desires by means of rule of law, democracy and established business practices, so they simply remove all of that AND FUCKING STEAL IT.

    The dirty cunts are outright simple thieves. They are worse than our standard daily criminals. They are much much worse than the dole bludgers that they so commonly hate on.

    It is abhorrent.

    John Key, Bill English, David Carter, Nick Smith, Amy Adams, Nicky Wagner are common thieves on a grand scale.

    They do not deserve even the remotest amount of respect and should be shunned and shouted down whenever they get up to speak.

    And where the fuck is the Labour lot on this?? Ay? just as bloody useless.

    • @vto
      +1 I couldn’t agree more with your comments.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      The dirty cunts are outright simple thieves.


      But then, that’s what capitalism is – legalised theft.

    • s y d 5.3


      agreed….as an aside as to where labour are…reminds me of an old joke

      there are two types of bosses….cunts and soft cunts….i’ll leave you to decide which describes national and which labour..

  6. Hilary 6

    In an interview this morning on Radio NZ Kathryn Ryan expressed her opinion that the braided rivers were being protected. Could someone knowledgeable and brave offer to have an interview with her and raise these issues?

  7. vto 7

    Police lies.
    Police perjury.
    Minister lies.
    Prime Minister lies.
    Government theft.

    These actions are no different whatsoever to those of Mugabe in Zimbabwe, or Stalin in Russia, or Hitler in Germany (Godwin can get fucked)

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      (Godwin can get fucked)

      Just because the comparison comes up doesn’t mean that the comparison is inaccurate. And I find that the ones trying to invoke Godwin’s Law as some sort of defence are usually the ones where the comparison is most apt.

    • Wayne 7.2

      You are hyperventilating.

      • blue leopard 7.2.1

        …I would have called it making a lucid point.

        • lprent

          Well that depends on what Wayne was referring to. Hyperventilating is such an ambiguous term…..

          I think that rather than the sucking in and holding air that is the main part of process of hyperventilating, he is referring to the expelling of hot air. Of course I could be wrong. He could have been talking about the self-drugging effect you get off hyperventilation. Or possibly the hyperventilating as a consequence of a panic attack… Or…

          Don’t know why Wayne didn’t just say what he meant rather than leaving it open to interpretation….

          Personally I’d have said that vto was overstating for the effect of promoting more discussion. But it doesn’t feel like he was overstating it by all that much.


  8. ianmac 8

    Remember when the USA was fighting to bring Democracy to Iraq, Afghanistan and supporting Egypt and the dismay when each country had elections but did not elect the “right” people. Why the blighters had the temerity to elect Muslims for heaven’s sake! (Mind you the “democratic” engineering in Iraq and Afghanistan did twist the democratic elections quite a bit.)
    Meanwhile the NAct Government not liking the democracy for ECAN in Canterbury, wiped out the democracy for Canterbury’s own good you understand. Just as well they were not Muslims then.
    What can Caterburians do about it then? Nothing much.
    But I am outraged!

  9. Rosie 9

    Mind. Blown.

    The last four years have been a nightmare. Time after time NZer’s have suffered because of Nat Govt policy/actions/inactions. A comprehensive list could be drawn up of all the factors contributing to the damaging impact of this govt, but it’s debatable whether it could be drawn in order of greatest harm because different sectors of society are affected in different ways. However the govt’s behaviour around ECAN just sums up their contemptable attitude to ALL in NZ. This is a govt that loathes its own people and the democratic laws that protect them and exist to promote a fair and equal society.

    There is something so chilling about the ECAN saga and now that this information has come to light, that there must be a way that the govt can be challenged on it. We just can’t accept this and we can’t accept that there is another two more years of this nat driven shit to deal with. Have we ever experienced such treachery in our parliamentary and democratic history? I would actually like to know. I have no knowledge of the contents of the rule book that govern Ministers and the PM but I’m sure someone here does. Are there any instances where the PM can be held accountable for breaching the democratic laws that govern us? What does it take to bring them down and call a snap election? Serious.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      We certainly need to do something. I’m presently wondering if there’s some sort of legal challenge available as this is obviously the government ruling in the favour of a select group and most decidedly not being impartial.

      • vto 9.1.1

        Perhaps a peitition to the G-G. Surely consitutional arrangements have been breached.

        Whatver comes of it it is likely that more extreme voting will occur at the next election – in the exact opposite direction of this bunch of common thieves.

        Someone posted above that the tired Canterbury community has got so little energy left after the quakes that this is just being left on the cracked dusty and broken floor. People are walking over the top of it oblivious to it – eyes half-closed, going home to brokenness and rats and sewer problems and waiting for insurance and on and on and on it goes. And that is the truth of it.

        • Rosie

          I really feel for Cantabrians vto. You guys have just had it from all angles. The old Union saying, “an injury to one is an injury to all” comes to mind in the ECAN situation. If Cantabrians have any strength left to react to this and to seek redress then it’s really important the entire country stands with you. The govt needs to know the population won’t allow its democracy, including local body democracy, to be messed around with. After all, whose next?

        • SpaceMonkey

          I wouldn’t put it beyond this Government to somehow suspend the next election or influence the outcome, irrespective of the vote.

    • weka 9.2

      “Have we ever experienced such treachery in our parliamentary and democratic history? ”
      Off the top of my head…
      The National Govt sacked the democratically elected Area Health Boards in the early 1990s (so that it could control its health reforms).
      Robert Muldoon overrode the High Court by introducing legislation that enabled the Clyde Dam to be built (early 80s?).
      The current use of the Public Works Act to seize land to improve roading (for tourism).
      The Foreshore and Seabed Act.
      There’s bound to be other examples*. The main difference between the above examples and ECAN would be that one could theoretically argue the public good for the examples, but the ECAN situation seems to be simply about greed for the few. I agree there is something particular about this, they’re taking things to a whole new level.
      * esp related to colonisation of NZ.

  10. Rosie 10

    Thanks for your examples Weka. Two Nat ones so far, one Labour and the Public Works Act you could say both Labour and National as it has been in existence for so many decades and the consequences impact generations.

    Note your reference to parliamentary treachery during colonisation – and there after. One would hope that our leaders would be have been able to get their leadership skills togther by now, but history keeps repeating and repeating and repeating.

  11. MrSmith 11

    I sent a couple of emails off to the Christchurch City Council asking what proportion or my rates go to ECAN, two weeks later no reply yet, I email EQC 8 weeks for a reply basically telling me they can’t answer that question, this really starts to wear you down after a while and I suspect that is the strategy.

    We need a rates revolt for ECAN and a EQC levy revolt for EQC lead by…………WHO? the opposition thats WHO!

    • kiwicommie 11.1

      Councils don’t care, all of them are out to serve themselves; just take a look at their regular pay increases. Their attitude to ratepayers is ‘let them eat cake’.

  12. Surely there must be some sort of action citizens can take,whether it be the court or
    a constitutional complaint to the governer general,thats right,key has wrapped him
    up too,there has got to be something, nz can’t wait another 2yrs, we need some
    legal beagles.

    • @starlight

      I have been pondering your comment, the only thing I could think to do is write to the Governor General, and if enough people do so, then perhaps something might shift.

      It then occurred to me; aren’t there are group of people who are paid rather well to act on the public’s concerns over such matters? (You know, the opposition parties).

      I really don’t understand why our opposition parties appear to have ‘checked out’, I am guessing they are fairly overwhelmed-there being so many issues that could be addressed and also,perhaps (hopefully) they are acting behind the scenes? I would imagine now is a good time for a firm complaint to opposition parties on this dreadful undemocratic behaviour of our Government. I would imagine, if they got enough letters, this would encourage movement on this particular issue.

      I would be very interested in others’ ideas re starlights queries.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        I really don’t understand why our opposition parties appear to have ‘checked out’, I am guessing they are fairly overwhelmed-there being so many issues that could be addressed

        I don’t think so. There are some resourcing issues, but in general I think that the focus has gone extremely internal. For Labour, internal politics ahead of Conference is dominating both time and energy at several levels. Leadership and focus on nailing National to the wall day after day is absent.

        • blue leopard

          Yeah that sounds about right. I hope they sort their shit out soon.

          And, hey, I’ll be blunt; With the sole exception of politicians in other countries and the too-big-to-jail types anyone and everyone else employed and doing their job as badly as our Government and largest opposition party would have their f** arses fired and would find it extremely hard to get another job.

          And don’t we all know that already.

      • Rosie 12.1.2

        Hi Blue Leopard.

        “I’d be interested in others idea’s re starlight’s querie”.

        Further up in the thread, DTB, VTO and myself had a little discussion around what actions need to be taken as a result of the undermining of democracy in Catherbury in relation to ECAN. VTO suggested a petition to the governer general, DTB suggested a legal challenge in response to my comment questioning the legality of this move and questioning the accountability of the PM and ministers involved. I say questioning because I have no freaking clue about the legality of it.

        What ever actions are taken, whether it begins at a grass roots people level or at a political level, (hopefully both)all of NZ needs to stand by Canterbury and do what we can to support them. Subversion of democracy for the goal of profiteering is a problem of mind blowing proportions that can affect any region of NZ under this govt and those responsible need to be held to account.

        If that doesn’t work we’ll take a leaf out of their book. They sacked a publically elected board, so we’ll sack them and see how they like it.

        • blue leopard

          Cheers Rosie,

          I had read the other discussion, it just appeared all very vague. i.e If there is a legal challenge, who sets it up? Does one approach lawyers to see if they are willing to do something like that? Are there lawyers only from certain areas or levels whom could take on this type of challenge?

          It just seems that more and more issues are just going by the by because there are so many of them.

          Perhaps the Greens will take it on. I guess it is likely they will, they appear to be taking their role seriously.

          • Rosie

            Lol, BL. I take responsibility for the vauge-ness. Thats because I can’t offer any suggestions as to how a situation such as this would be approached.

            Like you, I’d be inclined to believe the Greens would be the ones to take it on. They are well organised, work as a cohesive group (or appear to) and are focused. They’re also interested in upholding the democratic process. Holly Walker’s lobbying disclosure bill could be one example of their commitment to political integrity. Perhaps CHCH locals are already talking with their oppostion representatives and maybe there are things going on behind the scenes at this point in time.

            On another topic but not entirely unrelated: Hear what you say about how it seems that more and more issues are just going by because there are just so many of them. It feels like nothing will stop the Nat juggernaut of doom. They just seem so f$#%n untouchable and unaccountable. We need a strong, vocal and determined opposition and a strong, vocal and determined massive collective of NZers from all backgrounds standing in a united front against the govt and then we might just manage to overcome this tyrany. But is this happening? We have localised issue focused rallies (and good thing too) but what about regular mass rallies against the very govt itself? We’ve got a strong enough platform to go on. Or am I just dreaming?

            • blue leopard

              @ Rosie

              Oh! not a criticism re vagueness, was simply trying to get more details 🙁

              (Sorry this is a long response!)

              Yes, I thoroughly agree with your comments and concerns.

              I find it hard to establish how strong “the platform” is, it is extremely hard to know how strong the feeling is out there, one can be surrounded by people who never even voted for the Nats, when the numbers are 1 out of 2 voters (??!). I appear to be far removed from this sector of the community and need to keep aware that large amounts of people may feel entirely differently.

              One obstacle I see in all this is that most people are simply too busy and dealing with their own lives to be focussed on what is infesting our country at present; it appears that a lot are just happy for someone to seem confident, fiddle the numbers and make everything appear o.k. This is my rationalisation of why the polls continue to be so high. (‘High’ being the operative word-entirely divorced from reality and based on effective spin).

              Another obstacle is the media slant: It appears a rabid right-whinger is “desirable” as a choice for editor of a trashy newspaper, and I do wonder where all those journalists and tv producers with left-wing views are? Why isn’t a left-wing media source set up? This would go along way to achieving momentum for better outcomes for those of left-wing views (!).

              All I can say is that this thread has inspired me to write to our opposition parties to indicate that I am deeply concerned by this ECAN anti-democratic move. I view letters as a way to encourage politicians to see what is important and what to focus on, and this issue seems like a good one because it is so clearly dodgy in so many ways. Politicians have the resources to address this issue, we don’t, (and isn’t that what opposition is there and paid so well for??)

              I hope that opposition politicians are flooded with letters from many people expressing concern over this issue-then I dobelieve something will shift.

  13. Rosie 13

    Hi BL. Thanks for your response. I’ve got to dash but would like to say that I agree with your rationalisation of why the polls are how they are………..

    Good on you for deciding to write to opposition parties re ECAN. You know what, I will too. I have to admit because of my preoccupation with my own personal challenges in the last few years with unemployment and illness that I lost the strength and will to continue with participating in our democracy despite being actively involved in the decade prior. Now is the time we need to all step up and writing to our MP’s is one of the many things we can do.

    Did you see the notice on The Standard last week re the social leftie group, called ‘drinking liberally’, restarting in Hamilton? To see a left group reforming is a promising sign and I hope they sprout up all around the country. Not too sure about the name but never mind, its the intent thats important and they will have fun in the process of regrouping and re organising. I asked them to put up a report of their first event on the “Weekend Social” pages of The Standard and they said they would. It would be good to see how it went re interest and get a feel for what they discussed.
    Kia Kaha.

    • Cheers Rosie,

      I will look up that group and see what its about.
      Yes, it is not easy keeping going with this participating in democracy thing, especially at present, when it seems to be going from bad to worse to devastating and I agree with you Now is the time we need to all step up!!

      Hope your health is improving 🙂

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