web analytics

Re: Chauvel on CERRA

Written By: - Date published: 1:44 pm, September 24th, 2010 - 18 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, labour, law and "order", Parliament - Tags: ,

A few days ago Charles Chauvel wrote a piece on Red Alert on why Labour voted for CERRA (the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act or the Gerry Brownlee Enabling Act). I give him credit for not resorting to Brendon Burns’ ‘women and children first’ crap* but I’m still not convinced.

Chauvel makes two points:

  1. “we had a call to make. Go down in glorious defeat in a vote on the bill while the Government did what it wanted anyway, or use the possibility of there not being unanimity to get concessions”
  2. “frankly, we’d rather not spend the next 18 months being portrayed by National and the media as having obstructed the post-earthquake recovery.”

On the first, I would say Labour may have gotten some concessions but it didn’t get the vital one.

The problem with CERRA more or less boils down to seven words “any enactment, including (but not limited to)”. These words in section 4 of the Act mean that the “relevant Minister” (which is actually any Minister nominated by the Prime Minister, not just Brownlee) can alter in any manner not just the Acts listed in CERRA but any Act save five.

If you were going to focus on getting any particular concession from the government, it ought to have been limiting the powers of ministers to alter laws by decree to just the 22 listed. Without that limitation, CERRA is a dictators’ charter. Ministers can even alter CERRA itself to remove any of the other concessions Labour won.

This has already had ramifications, with Brownlee extending State agents’ emergency powers including the power “to examine, mark, seize, sample, secure, disinfect, or destroy any property, animal, or any other thing” even though the state of emergency has been lifted.

It’s good that Labour and the Greens won some concessions but they didn’t get the one that would have made it OK to vote for CERRA.

On the second point, there’s a dangerous mentality underlying the position that Labour had to vote for dictatorship or get pilloried in the media and lose votes. Apart from the obvious problem with the idea that any principle can be sacrificed to win votes,I think it assumes, wrongly, that Labour can’t win a media debate and that the media and the public itself will back authoritarianism during crisis. Neither of these things are necessarily true.

If Labour had said ‘we support Canterbury with everything we’ve got and we want to vote for CERRA but we can’t vote for a Dictators’ Charter’ that would have been a strong line that would have turned the question to why the Government was making such a power grab.

The media, in fact, isn’t very supportive of CERRA. The Herald wrote a scathing editorial and the gallery journos aren’t fools, they understand that the foundation of democracy is checks and balances on the exercise of power. If Labour had had a chat them, their line would have got traction. Right-leaning columnists like John Armstrong, Audrey Young, Fran O’Sullivan, and Collin James are no authoritarians. They wouldn’t have done a hatchet job on Labour. But Labour is clearly hugely risk adverse after so many hatchet jobs in the last few years.

And the public isn’t supportive of CERRA either. The polls on the news sites aren’t scientific but they tend to pop up a result that’s to the Right of the general population’s opinion, and the polls shows the public split on CERRA even with no Parliamentary party opposing it. Has anyone spoken to a non-RWNJ who agrees it was a good idea to give dictatorial powers to Brownlee? Because my experience is that whenever it comes up in conversation even non-political people’s reaction is disbelief and outrage.

Ultimately, I think that the Key Government is nearly as scared of the media as Labour (OK, not quite that scared). If National had been confronted with the option of limiting CERRA’s powers to just the named Acts or a possible drubbing in the media, I reckon Key would have folded.

But we’ll never know because the opposition failed to oppose.

* (on the subject of Burns, while his defence of CERRA has been ill-advised in the extreme the man is doing fantastic work on the ground for his people. His words have on the blog are wrong but his actions speak louder)

18 comments on “Re: Chauvel on CERRA ”

  1. BLiP 1

    Doesn’t say much for Labour if they are willing to give away democracy because of what the media might say. Reeks of the creeping “managerialism” seeping into politics. Its like our leaders have abandoned us and been replaced by a bunch of CV-grooming executives on a career trajectory into the board room.

    • Rex Widerstrom 1.1

      Well said BLiP. My thoughts exactly.

      And surely, Eddie, the other thing necessary to make it palatable would have been a reasonably short duration “sunset clause” on the whole thing?

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    Have they been asking Mark Arbib, Bill Shorten and Bitar? Honesty this is the same wimpy pandering that sunk Rudd and nearly took out Gillard.

  3. Herodotus 3

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2010/09/14/earthquake-bill-passes
    from my perspective the Green were leading the limitied charge against thento modify this bill, and from this post above, get absolutely pillared for theior actions. In my mind unfairly.
    Yet all we get from Laour is pithetic appologist behaviour, our media perception is more important than principles. Where will this take us-them? Do we now have to review all Labours behaviour based on medias perceptions and not their principles?
    Why was it that The Greens blog was so severe and labours lukewarm?
    The Greens have a belief/principle basis that we keep then to, and Labour can do what they want As Long As They Win an Election?
    I have some sympathy towards the Greens on this issue
    And with no strong basis from Labour against this bill yet another case of the
    Right Wing Labour party = The left/middle wing Nats

    • freedom 3.1

      it does not matter what concession was won,

      They voted for it, all of them, unanimously,
      they are all guilty !

      capcha: equal

      see, even the universe agrees

    • BLiP 3.2

      First of all, big ups to the Greens for not only fronting the blog but also putting up the leader to take the fall out. RESPECT. None for Goff whatsoever, he is coward.

      I think the reason the Greens copped it so hard is because it claims to put its principles first. It has time and again dissented from what might be seen as popular policies on the basis it stood firm with what it apparently *believed* in. This mirage was supplemented by the practise of real democracy within the Party structure itself and a sense amongst members that they also “owned” the Green’s brand. The MPs played along, acting out as dignified members in the House, not stooping to the usual bullshit that goes on in that cauldron, plus the fact that they have avoided any scandals or dramas fighting publicly amongst themselves. Then, suddenly, it turns out that the Green MPs are just the same as the rest of them – supporters were not just angry but also shocked!!

      Just about anything Norman had to say was going to get dealt to but to tell us that although the MPs knew it was a bad decision they still voted for it for pragmatic reasons!! FFS!!!

      As a wiser man than I said:

      In short, when your political strategy is to be principled, then refusing to act on principle is not a pragmatic decision.

      Labour supporters have had plenty of opportunities to get used to being disappointed with their MPs. Not so with the Greens.

  4. the sprout 4

    Well said Eddie, voices all my concerns.
    It’s a serious blight on Labour that they bent over so readily.
    I also have mixed feelings about Chauvel ‘fronting’ this, only have King write a preface saying CC is heading out of the country so won’t be able to respond to comments. Do they not have inet in the US, or is it just that this isn’t worth his attention.
    Moreover, considering the outrage this has provoked amongst many members, why didn’t King front it herself. Again, was this not worth her attention?
    So yeah, better than Burns’ hapless ravings, but still a piss poor response and justification.

  5. freedom 5

    i had a great ‘discussion’ with a friend the other day who is an avid Greens supporter, but could not concede that they should not have voted for CERRA.

    The whole discussion centered around the ‘not looking bad’ by voting against the bill.

    It is so obviously a crap position as the Greens could have all voted no, taken the stand expected, the bill would still have passed and all the BS media spin would have been useless as who would actually believe the Greens did not want to help CHCH.

    The Greens could have gone on the offensive and attacked the Government, (and Labour) for their authoritarian over-reaction. More importantly, they would not have lost a huge chunk of their (fledgling) support base.

    The disguting and disturbing outcome of CERRA shows we have a house overflowing with politicians, who are so corrupt that ensuring positive facetime with the Media means more than their responsibility to democracy

  6. rich 6

    I think a lot of people gave up on Labour years ago. Zaoui, the Tuhoe raids, police rape, that sort of thing.

  7. Ben 7

    Why are Kiwis all living in fear of media. They are the real dictators in NZ. Many people shut up about many issues for fear of our media. Its time that changed.

    • just saying 7.1

      Labour MPs doing their jobs and acting as an opposition is as yet untried. Even if the media is biased the point is moot when the main opposition party fawns and crawls and panders to them again and again and again.

      Sickening.

      Goff is beneath contempt

  8. Jum 8

    The one major for me is that these blogs, these politicians, these media scum all run their own agenda. I have to try and sit back and sit objectively about what has actually happened here.

    Most New Zealanders won’t even have noticed. Those who have will be putting their hands in their pockets as we speak for the people of Canterbury fund, and will be thinking how nice of the gummint to be pulling all the stops out to help us poor people. Labour is right in that NAct pondscum would have made this the perfect storm for Labour. What Labour should have done is make it perfectly clear to everyone they spoke to as well as put it on their blog that in no way are they allowing Brownlee to bulldoze any bad stuff through, apart from what has already gone through like paying off the SCF bastards, who will now gain from the sale of these land assets which Key, Brash, Shipley and Richardson helped drive through.

    New Zealanders are essentially – thick; just managing to survive which is where this government manipulated them, misogynistic which is why they swapped Helen Clark who would have made a far better job of governing in this recession for a US-backed patsy Key; or only in it for themselves as NActMU supporters, or all of the above.

  9. Jeremy Harris 9

    As I said on the RA thread, my favourite part was when they said Chauvel was out of the country so he couldn’t respond…

    He is a special envoy to the heart of the Congo where he can’t get Wi-Fi… They must think we’re dumb and believe the dodging reasoning…

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      Oh dont be silly. They mean he would be flying for long periods and couldnt monitor the comments as closely as required. Or have you not noticed we are on the other side of the world.

      I think this discarding of democracy like an out of date suit is a terrible decision
      Isnt the best way to walk them back on the decision and hear the excuses and say how unacceptable they are.
      To say Yes , if we had thousands dead, and bodies lying unburied in the streets, all the railways , ports, roads airport unusable and hundreds of thousands homeless we could understand a very brief CERRA for possibly weeks only in Canterbury could have been possible.
      But not for this. That parliamentary democracy is the still the best way when circumstances are most difficult.
      It seem that the Electoral Finance Act has cast a long shadow

      • Jeremy Harris 9.1.1

        Nonsense, there are often a couple of days between checks from MPs… It’s an excuse pure and simple…

  10. Drakula 10

    I cannot and will not accept the fact that the Green and labor MP’S voted for the bill on the pretext ‘that they would be portrayed by the media as “not doing their bit”‘

    It’s pure bullshit and Eddie has stated the reasons as to why it is bullshit.

    Any way it’s getting late I posted a rant on this on Bills post ‘Pause for thought’ that also applies here.

    Good night.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago