web analytics

Ominous Trickles before the Flood

Written By: - Date published: 5:35 pm, April 5th, 2009 - 13 comments
Categories: local government, national/act government - Tags: , ,

The attack on democratic local government is taking shape in the public domain.

1. Hide was not made the Minister of Local Govt for nothing. Radical changes are planned and National chose an ACT Party frontman to deflect public reaction. The Bill about to be introduced, and likely passed, to ‘cap rates at the rate of inflation’ will cripple councils ability to fund essential new projects and is clear evidence of the agenda.

2. The opportunity created with another round of amalgamation to create ‘super-cities’ whose governance is accessible only by those with wealthy backers. Already we have an established history of these right wing councils looking to sell assets such as airports whenever they can.

3. The technical advisory committee to the govt on RMA streamlining has come up with the ‘surprising’ suggestion to axe Regional Councils. Imagine my shock, again the Nat cabinet is using other entities to ‘Hide’ it’s real agenda. Most Regional Councils manage important public functions and are fat targets for selling off major parks, water and transport assets worth many tens of billions of dollars. In general these will be handed over into Council Controlled Organisations (CCO’s) that neatly packages them into saleable entities.

4. A lobby group calling itself ‘Water New Zealand’ is promoting water metering. Metering is a nonsense. The cost of water supply is 90% fixed overheads, reducing demand does little to reduce the total costs, therefore in the long run the price/unit has to go up in response. The sole purpose of metering is to use public funds to ready the asset for sale. (Potential private owners don’t want to have to spend a lot of money installing meters.)

‘No Asset Sales in our First Term’…. because it will take National about that long to get them ready and neuter the opposition.

13 comments on “Ominous Trickles before the Flood ”

  1. Greg 1

    I don’t get the big issue with water metering. It seems like a win, win. Even if 90% of the costs are fixed overheads, that still leaves households that choose to with an ability to save. Its the small stuff that counts right?

    Furthermore, the user pays scenario will mean we use less water. You’d change your habbits a bit if you could save money right? Thats good for the environment – less dams, less worry about water shortages etc etc.

    I would have thought the greens would love this proposal?

    • RedLogix 1.1

      It only seems like a win-win on the surface. I’ve explained it in more detail up in “Your Water Footprint”.

      It actually makes no sense from either a fairness nor value for money point of view. There are plenty of equally effective ways to save water, many of which cost much less to implement.

      Worse still, overseas experience with meters is quite perverse, especially with private providers. Once meters are installed, demand drops, but because the costs are fixed, the price/unit has to rise. Which causes demand to drop again…. you quickly get locked into a death spiral until you hit the steep inelastic part of the demand curve (about 120 litres/person/day in developed nations). At that point a monopoly supplier can pretty much charge what it likes, because no matter how high the price per unit you have to pay it. Soon everyone wonders why the hell, like the electricity system, we ever ‘commercialised’ it.

      If you think I exaggerate the rapaciousness of capitalist enterprise to act in this way, have a think about the behaviour that has directly led to the financial crisis we are plunging into.

  2. Gooner 2

    Capping Rates to inflation + population change is a necessary requirement or else the ‘Super City’ will treat ratepayers as a money printing machine. It’s absolute rubbish to argue it will ‘cripple’ councils ability to fund projects. Their are countless alternative funding mechanisms with local council bonds being a favourite of mine. The biggest capital expenditure of most councils is roading and Labour already introduced the northern tollroad: a Transit initiative admittedly but there is nothing wrong with tolling local roads also.

    What a shrilly post.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Their are countless alternative funding mechanisms with local council bonds being a favourite of mine.

      Sure, but it’s still not free money. The bond has to be repaid with interest eventually. That still has to come come from rates eventually.

      but there is nothing wrong with tolling local roads also.

      So all you are doing is trading off rates for tolls. As with water supply, the so-called ‘user pays’ model for roading is much weaker than expected. A road does not just benefit the actual user, but those who benefit from lower congestion elsewhere, and everyone who utilises freight services directly or indirectly. It’s a nonsense to think that any given road exists in isolation. They are all really part of a much larger network that we all benefit from.

      Besides you may want to consider Maurice Williamson’s fate before advocating road tolls too enthusiastically.

  3. gingercrush 3

    Welcome to The Standard Team Redlogix. I always think your replies to other authors have been excellent and no doubt your posts will add to The Standard. Of course I completely disagree with you on this issue. But I’m sure you’ll have interesting comments to make in the future.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      GC,

      Thanks. I doubt I will be as prolific as other better established authors, but it’s going to be a challenge keeping up.

      And unlike many right wing commenters who can do nothing better than carp and troll, you’ve earned respect here for putting up some decently thought through arguments.

    • agreed GC, welcome to the Standard RL.
      you’ve long been a superb commenter so I really hope you enjoy your posting here.

  4. Tigger 4

    Who are Water New Zealand? I see from their links page that there are a lot of people they appear to think are ‘releven’t but there aren’t any environmental organisations that they consider worthy of a link…so who are they working for? I couldn’t make heads of tails of their site – what do these people actually do?

  5. randal 5

    the thing is that nodbody is talking about is how many services will be privatised and gobbled up by new “OWNERS”!

  6. Joshua 6

    Welcome Redlogix, I’m glad to see you’ve joined the list of contributors for The Standard.

    Some interesting points you make about Local Government, which could get rather scary for the future of local democracy and also environmental protection. I agree that Regional Councils are a very critical part of local government in the enviornmental protection roles they fulfil. It would be pretty shocking to see them disbanded in any shape or form. The loss of the ARC through the creation of the super-city is definitely something that will have to be carefully managed so we don’t completely lose the benefit they bring Auckland.

    I have said before that a very important role the ARC plays is that of “environmental advocate”. You have a look at any plan change, large resource consent application or new district plan around and the ARC have probably made a big submission upon it. That submission will be very cleverly thought out and well articulated. The local council will take it on board and generally makes a significant number of changes directly because of the ARC’s submissions. Who is going to fulfil that role in the super-city organisation? I can’t imagine the Auckland Council will be quite so forthright in submitting against its own plans and I can’t see it taking itself to the environment court to ensure the best interests of the environment are taken into account in the formation of a plan or plan change.

    For example, fairly recently it was the ARC who joined in an Environment Court appeal against the demolition of Building 5 at Greenlane Hospital, after an initial demolition consent was granted by Auckland City Council. How would that have happened in a super-city structure?

  7. insider 7

    If 90% of the cost of water is the fixed costs, then that implies to me that you want to do all you can to defer building new infrastructure. In that way price could be really important to drive efficiency of use to maximise use of existing infrastructure. No pricing signal to me would tend to hide the cost of water supply so you end up overbuilding and absorbing far higher costs than you otherwise might.

  8. jcuknz 8

    The trouble with councils is that they are run by do-gooding staff who sitting on a good if not exhorbitant salary have no appreciation of the problem that rate payers have in increasing rates above the reasonable inflation and population increase rate which is a reasonable burden … although their income doesn’t rise to match inflation rises let alone the foolish dreams of council staffers. All power to Rodney.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Humanitarian support for Bangladesh and Myanmar
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced that New Zealand is providing NZ $8.25 million in humanitarian assistance to support refugees and their host populations in Bangladesh and to support humanitarian need of internally displaced and conflict affected people in Myanmar.  “Nearly four years after 900,000 Rohingya crossed the border ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 mins ago
  • Feedback sought on future of housing and urban development
    New Zealanders are encouraged to have their say on a long-term vision for housing and urban development to guide future work, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced. Consultation starts today on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of Aotearoa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Clean car package to drive down emissions
    New rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles start July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used. Electric vehicle chargers now available every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence. Low Emission Transport Fund will have nearly four times the funding by 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
    The Government is taking the next step to support transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, by progressing the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill, Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti announced today. “This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Crown speeds up engagement with takutai moana applicants
    The Crown is taking a new approach to takutai moana applications to give all applicants an opportunity to engage with the Crown and better support the Māori-Crown relationship, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says. Following discussions with applicant groups, the Crown has reviewed the existing takutai moana application ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court opens
    The Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, and the Minister for Courts, Aupito William Sio, have welcomed the opening of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court in Hamilton. The AODT Court (Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua) addresses situations where substance abuse and offending are intertwined. “New Zealanders have told ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • EU and UK FTAs top of list for first ministerial trip since COVID-19
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor today announced details of his planned visit to the United Kingdom and European Union next week, where he will hold trade and agriculture discussions to further New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The visit will add political weight to ongoing negotiations with both the EU ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
    Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett MNZM has been appointed chair of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “Twenty-eight people from diverse backgrounds across Aotearoa have been selected for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
    Ki ngā pou maha o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihiTo the pillars of our health system I acknowledge/thank you Ki te ope hapai hauora o roto o tēnei rūma, kei te mihi To our health force here in the room today, I acknowledge/thank you He taura tangata, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Karangahape Road upgrades are streets ahead
    The upgrades to Karangahape Road makes the iconic street more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, attractive and environmentally sustainable, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said at the formal celebration of the completion of the Karangahape Road Enhancements project. The project included widening footpaths supporting a better outdoor dining ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to APEC business event
    E ngā tumu herenga waka, ākina ā ngaru, ākina ā tai ka whakatere ngā waka ki te whakapapa pounamu, otirā, ki Tamaki o ngā waka Tena koutou katoa… To the great leaders assembled, who guided your waka through turbulent times, challenging waters and you continue to navigate your respective waka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pause on Quarantine Free Travel with Victoria extended
    Following an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria will continue for a further seven days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. There are now 93 cases associated with the outbreak in greater Melbourne, spread over four clusters. Contact tracing efforts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supplier Diversity Aotearoa Summit: Navigate 2021
    *** Check with delivery *** A mihi to all who have contributed to making today a success – starting with you! As you have explored and navigated government procurement today you will hopefully have reflected on the journey of our people so far – and how you can make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pukemiro School to close
    Pukemiro Primary School near Huntly will close following years of declining roll numbers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “I’ve consulted with the School Commissioner, and this decision acknowledges the fact that the few remaining students from last term are now settled at other nearby schools. “I want to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt acts to protect NZers from harmful content
    New Zealanders will be better protected from harmful or illegal content as a result of work to design a modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework, Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti announced today. New Zealand currently has a content regulatory system that is comprised of six different arrangements covering some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Consultation on exemption of new builds from proposed tax rules
    The Government has today confirmed new builds will be exempt from planned changes to the tax treatment of residential investment property.  Public consultation is now open on details of the proposals, which stop interest deductions being claimed for residential investment properties other than new builds.   “The Government’s goal is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech for Predator Free 2050 Conference
    Introduction E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa   Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei i raro i te kaupapa o te rā Ko Ayesha Verrall toku ingoa No ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New stock exchange to help grow small businesses
    A new share trading market, designed as a gateway to the NZX for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has been granted a licence by the Government. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said Catalist Markets Ltd will provide a simpler and more affordable ‘stepping stone’ for SMEs to raise capital. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Visa extensions provide certainty to employers and 10,000 visa holders
    Changes to onshore visas will provide employers and visa holders with more certainty, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. Around 10,000 Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 will be extended for another six months to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Border class exceptions approved for more farm workers and vets
    The Government has approved border class exceptions for an additional 200 dairy workers and 50 veterinarians to enter New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.  “It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More freezers and South Island hub to support vaccine roll-out
    A South Island hub and 17 new ultra-low temperature freezers will help further prepare New Zealand for the ramp up of the vaccination programme in the second half of this year, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. The new freezers arrived in New Zealand on 27 May. They’re currently being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech at the release of Climate Change Commission's final advice
    Good morning – and thank you Prime Minister. Over the last three and half years we have been putting in place the foundations for a low-carbon Aotearoa that will be a catalyst for job creation, innovation, and prosperity for decades to come. In that future, many of our everyday tasks ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Achievable blueprint for addressing climate change released
    Report says Government making good progress on emissions reduction, but more action required Meeting climate targets achievable and affordable with existing technology Economic cost of delaying action higher than taking action now Benefits from climate action include health improvements and lower energy bills All Ministers to help meet climate targets ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to release of Climate Commission final report
    A few years ago in a speech in Auckland, I compared climate change to the nuclear free movement of roughly four decades ago. And I did so for a few reasons. Firstly, because the movement of the 1980s represented a life or death situation for the Pacific, and so does ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Barrister Michael Robinson has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Robinson graduated with a BA and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1996, and commenced practice as a solicitor with Brookfields in Auckland.  In 1998 he travelled to London ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government takes action to improve protections for subcontractors
    The Construction Contracts (Retention Money) Amendment Bill – which provides greater financial protection for subcontractors, has passed its first reading today. The Bill amends the retention provisions in the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) to provide increased confidence and transparency for subcontractors that retention money they are owed is safe. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 1 million more Pfizer doses to arrive in July
    Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID1-9 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These consignments will double the total number of Pfizer doses we have received this year to more than 1,900,000 – enough to fully vaccinate almost 1 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Long-term home of the Independent Children’s Monitor identified
    The Independent Children’s Monitor (Te Mana Whakamaru Tamariki Motuhake), which is currently located within the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), will become its own departmental agency within Government. “Following the recommendations of several reviews, Cabinet agreed in 2019 to build a significantly expanded independent monitor for children in care,” Carmel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Racing Integrity Board members announced
    The new Racing Integrity Board will be up and running from July 1 to ensure high standards of animal welfare, integrity and professionalism in the racing industry. Racing Minister Grant Robertson today announced the appointments to the new Board: Sir Bruce Robertson KNZM – Chair Kristy McDonald ONZM QC Penelope ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt crackdown on organised crime continues
    A major operation against multiple organised crime groups with international links will make a significant dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks, Police Minister Poto Williams says. “I want to take an opportunity to congratulate the Police for their role in Operation Trojan Shield. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Farm planning framework supports farmers into the future
    A new framework, agreed between Government and industry, will make it easier for farmers and growers to integrate future greenhouse gas emissions and freshwater regulatory requirements into their farm planning, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “The Good Farm Planning Principles Guide out today, provides guidance for how farmers can organise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for Canterbury
    The Government has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to the Canterbury floods. The Minister of Social Development and Employment, Hon Carmel Sepuloni says $500,000 will be made available to help with the clean-up. The flooding in Canterbury has been a significant and adverse event damaging farmland, homes, roads ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Connecting rangatahi to the soil
    A Jobs for Nature project to raise 480,000 native plants in nurseries across South Auckland will provide work for communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, Acting Conservation Minister Ayesha Verrall says. The Mana in Kaimahi project is being run by Te Whāngai Trust Board and will establish ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Roll out of high-resolution elevation mapping begins
    The first tranche of mapping data from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)-LiDAR project is now available to the public from Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand. LiDAR data, which creates 3D baseline elevation information, will deliver multiple uses over the coming decades to councils and regional industries. “This mapping ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Champions of Pacific education rewarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours
    Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours list show that across Aotearoa New Zealand there were many champions of Pacific education. “Education is so vital to the success of Pacific people that it’s truly fitting that a number of educators have been honoured this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM congratulates Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List. “This group represents decades of services across many areas, and those honoured highlight how many New Zealanders are going above and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Change of status for Rangiriri kura
    A change of status for Te Kura o Rangiriri sees it become a designated character school within the Māori-medium network, Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis announced today. “This kura has been providing Māori immersion learning since 2003 in the historic town of Rangiriri, so I’m delighted that it is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • APEC trade ministers’ unite on COVID-19 vaccine steps and rejuvenating the WTO
    APEC trade ministers today committed to speeding up the cross-border flow of vaccines and related goods to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This followed the completion of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting chaired by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor early this morning. “As we face the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further consultation for Melville schools
    Formal consultation is set to begin on specific options for the future of schooling in South West Hamilton, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. “Recent engagement has shown that the schools and community want a change to Year 7-13 schooling for the area.  “I am now asking the Boards of Melville ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Primary schoolkids dig trees for Arbor Day
    A new Arbor Day initiative announced by Forestry Minister Stuart Nash will see thousands of primary school children get the chance to plant native trees in their communities. The initiative is open to more than 2,400 primary schools. It is a partnership between Te Uru Rākau/NZ Forest Service and the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago