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Will Wellington’s Green mayor outsource council jobs?

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 am, April 4th, 2013 - 106 comments
Categories: local government, Privatisation, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Hard to believe, but despite having a Green Party mayor the Wellington City Council is about to outsource work currently done by council staff.

We all know what that means – redundancies, longer hours, poorer safety standards and ultimately lower pay for workers as contractors screw down wages in a bid to undercut each other and land the contract.

The outsourcing proposal is being driven by council management, which has attempted to bypass any democratic opposition by pushing it through under the radar.

But they’ve been rumbled, and the Left’s councilors, led by Wellington Labour southern ward councilor Paul Eagle, have called a special meeting today to put a stop to it.

Eagle had to get eight signatures on the council to call the special meeting. Celia Wade-Brown was one of them, but it’s rumoured she still may not vote to halt the outsourcing. Certainly her comments on the issue so far haven’t given much cause for hope.

The meeting is at 1pm today. Paul Eagle will be moving a motion calling for WCC to “cease any current and future outsourcing of work currently undertaken by CitiOperations” pending a review. (CitiOperations traditionally have been responsible for running the city landfill and maintenance work of council infrastructure.)

This will be a major test of Celia Wade-Brown’s progressive credentials. The elected councillors are equally split on the issue of privatization, with seven councillors supporting Paul Eagle’s motion and seven siding with WCC management in supporting outsourcing of this work.

If Celia supports Eagle’s motion it will send a clear message to incoming WCC CEO Kevin Lavery that privatisation and outsourcing are off the agenda in Wellington. Lavery’s appointment is already cause for concern because of his role in supporting privatisation at his previous council role in Cornwall.

If Celia votes with the right on this issue a number of her left of centre colleagues on the council intend to publicly withdraw their support of her mayoralty. Given the right are already running a concerted campaign against Celia this would leave her without allies on council. Her support of outsourcing would also undermine her credibility in supporting the Living Wage campaign – after all, contracting out is a major factor in driving down wages.

The meeting is today at 1pm in Committee Room 1, Wellington City Council buildings.  You’re welcome to go along and attend.

You can also email Celia and encourage her to do the right thing at mayor@wcc.govt.nz

106 comments on “Will Wellington’s Green mayor outsource council jobs? ”

  1. One Tāne Huna 1

    Let’s hope WCC takes this opportunity to publicly reject this tawdry wingnut scam.

  2. Jenny 2

    This is a foretaste of the pressures of government that the Green Party will face.

    As far as I know, the Green Party don’t have a set in concrete policy on outsourcing.

    In politics, it is hard enough keeping elected officials on track, even with hard policy to bind them.

    Of course outsourcing is bad, and runs counter to the Greens official general policy of fighting poverty.

    Contracted out workers are generally insecure day workers with no tenure in their jobs. For this and other practical reasons they cannot join unions.

    Contracting out creates insecurity and low wages. The families of contractors and in particular their children are moved from place to place during their school years, as their parents chase the work, disrupting their education and never forming attachments.

    As well as generally lower wages and worse conditions, contracting out leads to social dislocation alienation and family break ups.

    Of course Celia Wade Brown knows all this. (Or should).

    But this doesn’t account for all the conservative pressures that come on elected officials to forgo principle in the interests of “pragamatism”.

    This will be an interesting test for the Green Party. Will they be able to bring this elected official back under control?

    Whatever way the Mayor votes it will be an indicator of what will happen to the Green Party in Government.

    By refusing to make action against climate change one of their key “Principles”, the Green Party are setting themselves up for the same sort of fall.

    • rosy 2.1

      But she’s not really Green is she? She just rides a bike.

      • Jenny 2.1.1

        You see the same sort of distancing himself, (when it suits him), from his party from the Labour Mayor of Auckland.

        When the crisis is over it is all lovey dovey again.

        If Celia Brown votes for contracting out, her membership of the Greens should be publicly terminated. Which is what the Labour Party should have done for Brown.

        No kisses and making up afterwards.

      • Roland 2.1.2

        Celia has been a Green Party member for decades and is one of the most committed “Green” people I know. She has lived her life by green principles for many decades.

        • Jenny 2.1.2.1

          That commitment is about to be tested.

          • Jenny 2.1.2.1.1

            That commitment is about to be tested.

            Jenny

            Or not, if the Green Party decide to give her a free pass for this act of treachery.

        • Tigger 2.1.2.2

          Yet she ran as ‘Independent’? Why is that?

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.2.1

            Privatising Council functions doesn’t hurt the environment. No incongruency there.

            • Jenny 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Privatising Council functions doesn’t hurt the environment….

              Colonial Viper

              Nobody said it did. The Green Party have been playing up social issues above environmental issues, particularly climate change, for some time now.

              The “incongruency” is because, it is these very social issues that Wade Brown is selling out.

              The warning is clear. You start by selling out over the environment and end up selling out over social issues as well

          • rosy 2.1.2.2.2

            To

            She campaigned for the Mayoralty as an Independent to emphasise an inclusive approach.

            aka ditching the the Green agenda if doesn’t suit… which is fair enough, and at least honest. But yeah, she’s not really Green, is she?

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.2.2.1

              If she’s amongst the “most committed” Greens out there, we would seem to have a problem on the Left.

            • Jenny 2.1.2.2.2.2

              But yeah, she’s not really Green, is she?

              rosy

              She is a Green Party member. And this is where the Green Party have some influence.

              Will they remove her membership to make an example to other Green Party Politicians considering selling out?

    • karol 2.2

      The Green Party Policies on Industrial Relations and Work and Employment would seem to go against the idea of outsourcing.

      I hope Celia does the right thing.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Contracting out creates insecurity and low wages.

      Just as it was supposed to do and I’m actually in favour of jobs being recognised as a business.

  3. Jenny 3

    Hard to believe….

    EDDIE

    Not really.

    You only have to look at how the Labour Party Mayor of Auckland treated the wharfies to know that “pragmatic” politicians are immune to arguments of principle.

  4. Jenny 4

    But she’s not really Green is she? She just rides a bike.

    rosy

    She may claim this now. But this is not quite true. Like the Labour Party Mayor of Auckland whose election depended on the Labour Party volunteers who worked on his campaign.

    Wade Brown relies on Green Party support to keep her position. IF she betrays that support. Then the Green Party must publicly withdraw their endorsement of her and tear up her membership.

    Will they?

    Or will pragmatism again trump principle?

    • rosy 4.1

      “Or will pragmatism again trump principle?”

      Exactly Jenny.

      Support for the Basin Reserve flyover – a pragmatic tick
      Support for a privatising CEO – tick
      Support for the Marine Education Centre on the seaward side of Te Raekaihau Pt*, back in the day – tick
      Support for outsourcing council jobs – of course it’s going to be a tick

      *Lucky it failed, I see they’re planning the Centre on the landward side now, on land that needs to be remediated, which is where it always should have been… wouldn’t have happened if C. W-B had her way.

      As far as I can see, she’ll take a showcase project ahead of the environmental one. Sometimes the two coincide, like light rail. Her attitude actually stopped me voting Green a couple of elections back.

    • One Tāne Huna 4.2

      Or are all your conspiracy theories about the Greens a load of hogwash?

      “It;s rumoured…” says the article. Oh yeah? By whom?

      Assuming she votes to reject the kool-aid, you will no doubt accuse her of doing so out of pragmatism rather than principle.

      • Jim Davis 4.2.1

        I saw a piece in the Dom recently where she defended council management. I’m trying to find it but I’m not sure it made it online. The threat is real.

      • Jim Davis 4.2.2

        You’ve also got to wonder how on earth she let it get to this stage. Is she asleep at the wheel or something?

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.2.1

          Sorry peeps environmental credentials and values aren’t the same as left wing public sector values.

          Also, how much pressure are her council finances under at the moment? Is there pressure on to make the books look better?

          • cricklewood 4.2.2.1.1

            Undoubtably there is huge pressure to improve the books, the long term plan costs out as requiring rates increases well above self imposed council limits, if Celia pushes big enough increases through the chances of re election go down the toilet, it’s possible that that otherwise supportive councilers would revolt. Then you quite possibly end up with a right wing mayor that will do far worse.

            Much like the Nats would love to put interest on student loans, cut the top tax rate, privatise everything and dump working for families they don’t because they know it is political suicide.

            I would say that sometimes pragmatism needs to trump idealism. lesser of two evils in all…

            • Colonial Viper 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Then you quite possibly end up with a right wing mayor that will do far worse.

              So we’re back to this rationale again.

              Vote for the watered down Left candidate because they won’t be as bad as a Tory candidate.

              We better accept something here. Being Left Wing costs people more in taxes and in rates than being Right Wing. But in many cases it will save huge money in the long run NOT to contract out work.

              And if we don’t have leaders capable of making a strong clear case as to why this is very worthwhile and positive to rate payers and tax payers, the Left is perma-fucked.

              • cricklewood

                Yep, unfortunaly big rates rises go down like a cup of cold sick. IMO it’s more unpalatable than a income tax increase at a National level.
                With income tax you can really target it to the top tax bracket where as rates effect all home owners and I know plenty who earn comparitivily little but have scrimped and saved for 30 or 40 years to buy a very modest house which now is valued at a sum far greater than they could have ever paid. Even current rates are painful for some.
                Also turn out is so low at Local Body level I would hazard a guess that disgruntled homeowners would be able to shift the council balance a lot easier than a disgruntled high earner could at a national level where there is a much better turnout.

                • Colonial Viper

                  well the story there is that those ordinary home owners have been turned into major asset holding capitalists due to the asset boom.

                  In that case, appealing to and running as a Left candidate is an electoral hiding to nothing.

                  Yes you are right about low turnout in local body elections. A concerted turn out by everyone in WGN who owned over a million dollars worth of property, and Wade Brown would be history in a flash.

                  • cricklewood

                    “well the story there is that those ordinary home owners have been turned into major asset holding capitalists due to the asset boom.”

                    Yep and it’s hard not to feel sorry for some, I know one in particular that bought for around $50000 it took him many years to pay the mortgage on that amount, he is now valued at close to $300000 (mainly due to section size as the house is a tiny fibre board model) he earns close to minimum wage has had his hours cut and the up keep on the house and the rates don’t leave him with a whole lot at the end of the day.

                  • rosy

                    “A concerted turn out by everyone in WGN who owned over a million dollars worth of property, and Wade Brown would be history in a flash.”

                    As it was, the only reason she won was STV voting. Penderghastly won the first preferences Wade-Brown won on the final round of preferences.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And no one would understand what those numbers mean as well as Wade-Brown herself.

                      She’s not silly. It’s just that being Left has nothing to offer her electorally, apart from losing.

                    • Rich

                      The millionaires already make sure of voting. It’s their tenants that usually forget.

                      And winning on STV preferences is winning. The earlier rounds are of no consequence – FPP is a corrupt system to elect the candidate who can build the biggest bandwagon (usually with the help of their friends in the media).

                      (STV isn’t perfect, we should have MMP and an indirectly chosen council leader, but it’s way better than FPP).

                    • rosy

                      “And winning on STV preferences is winning”

                      Just talking about how little it would take to tip her out, not dissing the STV result.

                      I agree we should have MMP though. STV is a dog and the lengthy process of voting for people you know bugger all about in a local election is enough to put anyone off making the effort to do it.

          • Coronial Typer 4.2.2.1.2

            Loved that. “Environmental credentials aren’t the same as left wing public sector values.”
            Within that is the Tiwai Point debate in a nutshell of very hard choices. A great maxim for the entire 2014 Labour-Green coalition.
            Greens need Labour’s realpolitik brutality, Labour needs Greens’ idealism and policy purity.

            • The Al1en 4.2.2.1.2.1

              “Greens need Labour’s realpolitik brutality, Labour needs Greens’ idealism and policy purity.”

              Only one of those has a realistic chance of eventuating.
              Clue, it’s not the second.

      • Jenny 4.2.3

        Or are all your conspiracy theories about the Greens a load of hogwash?

        One Tāne Huna

        It is not a conspiracy it is just how the system corrects itself.

        Making sure that business continues as usual.

        This how the game is played.

        If you don’t know the rules of the game. Then you will be steam rollered by it every time.

        Let your elected representatives have wriggle room to compromise and they will compromise.

        There is absolutely no doubt of that.

        The pressures in parliament are just too great. The private sector lobbyists, the other parties and MPs, the media. Will all bend them to their will.

        But unfortunately, I suppose we will just have to watch it all unfold again.

        But nobody this time will be able to say, “I didn’t see that coming.”

  5. tc 5

    This could do for the greens what brown and shearer are doing to the Labour brand if she doesn’t stand up for peoples existing jobs and make a clear stand.

    Going further into the murky centre where they all look like troughers once they get the baubles of office and power is a great success the NACT is enjoying with labour currently.

  6. Coronial Typer 6

    It’s still worth doing a proper report card over this Wellington Mayor, as a guide for voters in Wellington.

    Can someone do a separate post on this please, after today’s decision.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    More imported Tory brits running things? We’re a stupid country to follow the UK example, aren’t we.

    • alwyn 7.1

      Yes we are. I don’t feel that I am in the category you are talking about however.
      I did not vote for that imported Tory brit named Celia in the mayoralty election so I don’t think I need feel any shame for the stupidity of the people who did vote for her.

    • The Al1en 7.2

      “More imported Tory brits running things?”

      More imported Tory brits ruining things?

      Sorry mate, corrected your typo for you.

      “We’re a stupid country to follow the UK example, aren’t we.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22007058
      “People in the UK now fit into seven social classes, a major survey conducted by the BBC suggests.”

      Seven classes. Now that’s what I call growth. Recession, what depression?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      Yes, we are. Time we dumped capitalism and went to full democracy.

    • Rich 7.4

      Racist much? Not all brits are Tory? Some of us left the place for a reason…

      • The Al1en 7.4.1

        Touchy, much? I think you’ll find it wasn’t an insult against all Brits, just the tory ones.

        The clue is in the line “More imported Tory brits running things”

      • Colonial Viper 7.4.2

        Indeed my apologies, if you are an imported Brit running things here in NZ but not a Tory. If you can do something to dissuade these people turning up on our shores however, that would be appreciated.

        • The Al1en 7.4.2.1

          Never rely on anyone to do something you can do yourself.
          Best way to stop them coming is elect a proper leftist government.

          • Colonial Viper 7.4.2.1.1

            Well you elect these people in as leftists but they don’t seem to stay that way, which leads to the inevitable question whether or not they ever were really, in the first place.

            After multiple failures and disappointments you gotta wonder.

            • The Al1en 7.4.2.1.1.1

              Never mind, it’s the year of the Snake, Snake. And a year is an age in politics.
              Any thing can happen, even for popular left wing politicians.

        • Wisewoman 7.4.2.2

          Perhaps all the imported Brits right back to 1840 should go home.

  8. quartz 8

    She led an anti-union march on Labour day. She may be green but she’s not of the left.

  9. johnm 9

    No to outsourcing:

    1. The problem with outsourcing is that the outsourcers only do what is in the contract. As soon as business requirements change from what is included in that contract, outsourcing suddenly doesn’t look attractive any more since the outsource company starts to raise the costs required for the extra services (usually meaning renegotiating the contract for more money)

    Outsourcing is seen by companies as a short-term fix to improve it’s bottom line financials. Longer term it will start costing more than it saves because the beancounters and management are so short-sighted.

    2. I completely agree, this has been my experience of outsourcing too. Once something is discovered that isn’t in the contract all myriad of people are brought in by the service supplier to either avoid the ‘new’ work or to charge heavily for it. The client then spends an equally absurd period of time deliberating whether they can justify the unexpectedly high cost for a trivial piece of work or whether to abandon the idea. Consequence – stalemate, and very little real work gets done. All that happens is that the lawyers and bean counters rake it in and drive around in expensive cars.

    3. No. Outsourcing contracts are anything but flexible since the outsourcer and the outsourcee negotiate and document EVERY niggling thing that [inital] requirements analysis brings up, Business processes ALWAYS change according to market forces.

    On top of that the analysts and consultants handling the outsourcing ALWAYS miss some small but vital thing after listing everything that the outsource company must provide.Usually because the employee responsible is either absent at the time or is being deliberately obstructive due to job insecurity fears

    Once the market forces change the business operational requirements or the issue of the missing requirements impacts the business, the contract then becomes a milk cow for the outsource company since they can charge extra for new service requirements while still being paid according to the existing contract knowing that the customer will be reluctant to spend more money renegotiating the contract to include the new service requirements under the fixed costs.

    I know this ‘coz I worked for an American company that outsourced the wazoo out of itself several times in a vain attempt to stop itself from going under. Didn’t work as it was simultaneously screwing with the business models which kept changing the service requirements with the outsource companies.

    The operational staff don’t like outsourced services or processes within a company as it is a layer of incompetant or obtuse management to navigate when it’s required. Only executive management and beancounters like outsourcing as it moves money from internal to external expenditure and thus pleases the shareholders by making it appear that it costs less to run the business.

    4. It all sounds so marvellous, and maybe in America the ethic of service companies is different from here in the UK. The history of outsourcing in the UK is abysmal. It has lead to poor, yet more expensive services, dirty hospitals, accidents on the London Underground, accidents on the railways, rip off utility costs, etc.,etc.

    5. Outsourcing is part of the new religion of business schools. City or town managers purposely run public services into the ground in order to either privatize, or enter into another fairy tale called Public Private Partnerships (P3s or Picking your Pocket for my Profit). Large corporations take on these services as loss leaders, then after dismantling the public ability to reclaim the services, the costs go through the roof. My city outsourced garbage and recycling services. I now frequently have to clean up the garbage spilled while collecting. That virtually never happened previously.

    6. Public goods should not be subject to regular market forces; they are to be determined by the political process. Public goods are a necessary part of civil society. In this case, the political process has abdicated. There will be consequences. They will be negative.

    Just wait until the honeymoon is over and the corporate profit motive takes over as the primary motivation of those providing “public” services.

    How stupid can people get?!!

    7. In the UK privatisation has never resulted in anything but a collapse of standards, as contractors deliver the absolute minimum they can get away with. MRSA anyone? IE Hospital cleanliness standards plummeted.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Thanks you taught me a couple of things there.

    • johnm 9.2

      Outsourcing the thin end of the wedge of privatisation.
      “UK: Barnet Council proceeds with public services outsourcing”
      http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/16/barn-j16.html

      “The public have no real control over privatised services, whereas public services are, in theory, more democratically accountable.

      Privatised services have the potential to erode both civic pride and the sense of an area’s “areaness” as privatisation leads to everywhere looking all too similar.
      In addition to costing the taxpayer significantly more money, for a, by and large, worse service.”

      “Of course it matters who owns the service because it determines how accountable that service is to the local community. The big hint is in the word ‘service’ which is what the local community pay their council tax to provide. If the council runs that service poorly the local community can remove that council from power.

      When a service is run by a private company for profit it is almost impossible for the local community to hold the private company accountable for its actions. The scandal of Staffs NHS shows what happens when you apply private sector thinking to an organisation that requires co-operation across its different sectors to work.

      How warped does you thinking have to become to think everything should be driven by a dogma that thinks only of making profits for a small group of people.”

      “Public services are not supposed to run “at a profit”. They are supposed to be run for the benefit of the people who use them at an affordable price – the NHS was an example of a public sector entity which achieved this marvelously.

      Compare it with healthcare in the USA and you’ll see quite a horrific contrast.

      The private sector do things better than the piublic one and are better value for money

      You are either too young to remember the rail services pre-privatization or you’re a free-market idealogue. Suffice to say monopolistic structures essential to the wellbeing of a society should never be privatized. You basically give a business a license to print money and you take power away from people who use that service.”

      The ‘EasyCouncil’ model is the way every council in England will be run if the Tories win the next election. Its clear once you see through the economic nonsense this government has been pumping out that this is a major push by the right to entrench the neo liberal revolution. Its a mass transfer of public money (our taxes, council tax) into the hands of the private sector. I seriously doubt it can be stopped by legal action alone. And no amount of one day strikes every few months will do much good either.

      If we want our society to be better than one only based on wage slavery and exploitation we will need to really fight for it. The ‘easycouncil’ approach is really just the start and it is designed to break up the social structures we have fought for to soften the harsh reality of capitalism.”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/19/barnet-council-high-court-budget-cuts

    • cricklewood 9.3

      Regarding point one, There are always variations to contract because often the local body ones are so poorly written that they are often priced on the potential number of variations to contract (large profits) that will be available. Having tendered a fair few myself some documents are so poorly written and specified it’s ridiculous.
      Where it really falls over is when they decide that they will operate a lowest conforming tender model rather than one where they talk to all tenders and asertain what has and hasn’t been allowed, methodology etc before making a descision on the best fit. I have seen more than contract turn sour due to the lowest conforming model even had one where I ended up carrying out all the variations on a contract I didn’t hold due to excessive price gouging by the contract holder.
      That only came about due to the good working relationship I had with the council and a clause giving them the option to approach the market if the variation price was deemed ‘excessive’ (this clause was the subject of a fair bit of legal manouvering around the word excessive with the contracter saying his price was merely ‘inflated’ council won in the end and the contractor surendered the contract not long after.
      There are many others where this gouging is tolerated and the contracts so loose you could drive a bus through them. This allows a contractor to let things to deteroiate to the point where major remedial work is needed and windfall profits are taken on the ensuing variation.

      If we persist with the contracting model the Contracts must be as tight as possible and more over they must be enforced with vigour (which they are not)

  10. Rich 10

    There seems to be this big gap in the usual Green party processes of accountability to membership where local government is concerned.

    If you want to be a Green MP, there’s a clear process you go through to get onto the list which is approved and the rankings confirmed by a vote of the membership.

    If you want to be a Green councillor, then what? I’ve never found evidence of any sort of adoption process, and I’d be interested to hear from anyone who knows about this. It seems that Celia & Iona put themselves forward several years ago, organised their own campaigns and became councillors. Then Celia decided to run for mayor as an independent, but kept the illusion that she was a ‘Green’ candidate in all but name. (There’s precedent for this – Kerry Prenderghast was a National party member/parliamentary candidate but purported to be an ‘independent’ mayor).

    It would be better if the Greens had a proper process modelled on the parliamentary one to select and reselect local government candidates. Then we might get a proper Green mayor?

    • alwyn 10.1

      You have the order the wrong way around. You say “Celia decided to run for mayor as an independent, but kept the illusion that she was a ‘Green’ candidate in all but name.”
      In fact she was a Green candidate who hid the fact from the general populace and pretended to be an Independent.
      She actually campaigned with an orange themed campaign. As an English person whose father was, I believe, a career soldier who served in Northern Ireland I’m sure she knew and meant to confuse the issue.
      Frankly I think she has been a terrible mayor and the people of Wellington can only hope we get a better one after the next election.
      As for having party candidates in the local elections please NO. We used to have that where the Labour party ran official candidates but they thankfully stopped doing so years ago.

      • Rich 10.1.1

        If a politician is an official party candidate endorsed through a proper process, then firstly, they’ve gained the support of that parties members and secondly, they have a relationship with that party. If they turn out to be useless, corrupt or wierd, they can be deselected and a better candidate adopted.

        If the only thing backing them is their ego and a bunch of (wealthy) friends who think they’re wonderful, then that’s all lost. They might be thrown out in the next STV/FPP beauty contest, but if they’re the least worst, maybe not.

        What we should have for local government is a system modelled on the MMP system used for central government. Councillors get elected by a fair voting system, and they vote in a leader who has the confidence of a majority, with the minority forming an opposition. Fair, effective and representative, which is probably why we aren’t allowed it.

        • Unionist 10.1.1.1

          I’m with Rich. Also, Labour does have candidates – this post mentions Paul Eagle as a Labour councilor. I’d much rather candidates were upfront about their political affiliations and were accountable to a local party membership and a clear and unambiguous platform.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.2

          and were accountable to a local party membership and a clear and unambiguous platform.

          In caucus you can demote or eject MPs who do not keep with party discipline, and promote and reward those who do.

          You can do no such thing in a local council setting. What other sanction can be produced to maintain discipline?

          Rich said

          If they turn out to be useless, corrupt or wierd, they can be deselected and a better candidate adopted.

          Again, you can’t do this very effectively with a local councillor who has been voted in. You can try, but your party machinery can’t stop an established councillor and known name from getting voted on again, even against a new party approved and selected candidate.

          • Rich 10.1.1.2.1

            Well, one could start by having a process where councillors get adopted by a vote of the membership and reselected before each election. If people make a bad decision and get a councillor who flounces out after losing a reselection vote and becomes independent, then that’s a problem, but trying is a start.

            The other part is lobbying for a system (MMP-modelled, like I said) that enables the composition of council to reflect the votes. In that system, councillors losing the endorsement would be like MPs jumping waka – they might occasionally get re-elected, but usually they’d sink without trace.

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.2.1.1

              In that system, councillors losing the endorsement would be like MPs jumping waka – they might occasionally get re-elected, but usually they’d sink without trace.

              Very few people stand on political party tickets in local elections as it tends to lose votes not gain them.

              • Rich

                About half of the Auckland councillors represent a (local) party group:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland_Council

                • karol

                  Yes but the groups are not the same as the parties represented in parliament. And they aren’t parties – they are usually differentiated by calling them something like “tickets”: e.g Citizens and Ratepayers: Vision West, City Vision, etc. Groups like City Vision tend to appeal to people who vote Labour or Green or Mana in government elections: ie they cut across party divisions.

    • Jenny 10.2

      It seems that the Green Party have good grounds to publicly tear up Wade Brown’s memberships of their party.

      Will they do it?

      I doubt it.

  11. Richard Down South 11

    Bet you someones gonna make money out of this… follow the money

  12. BM 12

    This Wade women answers to the people of Wellington not the Melons.
    If outsourcing is a better option, so be it.

    Political parties have no place in local body politics, they can all go fuck themselves.

  13. muzza 13

    DEBT!

    Taking everything you think you had, or that you believed you owned – Even if you personally do not owe money!

    Thats how its designed to work, using people such as this!

  14. feijoa 14

    WCC is straining under RODNEY HIDE’S Local government Act. Rate rises are to be kept to under 2.5% and all that stuff about councils not being involved in achieving “social” goals

    Wellington CC has huge costs for the whole leaky homes thing, and earthquake strengthening of it’s buildings, and really can’t pay for everything AND keep rate rises down as Lord Rodney said
    Guess something has to give, and we know the rightys answer to that

  15. karol 15

    And Celia has sold out. Contracting out it is.

    • johnm 15.1

      Madness! Betrayers, Quislings, Traitors but that’s been the game since Rogernomics began in 1984. She’s just the latest I’m voting Mana next time.

    • Maybe Annette King should reconsider a shot at the Mayoralty?

  16. Zeroque 16

    Really disappointing. I don’t know whether I should have known better to have faith that it wouldn’t happen but it has and it will be working people that suffer gradually worse working conditions over the coming decades. Whilst the Council, I suspect, will find in the longer term they will pay more for less with decreased control. This is beginning to seem unstoppable.

  17. George D 17

    It’s filthy disappointing. She just got Mary Wilson’d, big time, on RadioNZ (according to Twitter – I haven’t heard it yet).

    Like Len Brown and POAL, this is what happens when we support people of the ‘left/Labour/Greens’ (I’m not suggesting those terms are equivalent) into power, but don’t have a system of accountability which would ensure they’re to operate within limits that approximate those of the people who got them there.

    I’ll be stoking an internal discussion within the Greens so we can help ensure this doesn’t happen again.

    • karol 17.1

      George D: I’ll be stoking an internal discussion within the Greens so we can help ensure this doesn’t happen again.

      Excellent!

    • BM 17.2

      People weren’t voting for the Greens when they voted in Wade-brown.
      They were voting for the individual, not the party.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      …but don’t have a system of accountability which would ensure they’re to operate within limits that approximate those of the people who got them there.

      Referenda – it’s the only way really.

      Put the people into government and have the councils and parliament acting as administration rather than as government.

      • The Chairman 17.3.1

        Indeed. Representative Democracy is largely failing us

        The number of disenfranchised voters (non voters) is growing

        A form of Direct Democracy is required

    • Jenny 17.4

      I’ll be stoking an internal discussion within the Greens so we can help ensure this doesn’t happen again.

      George D

      Good one. And make sure that you demand that action against climate change is elevated to one of the Green Party Key Principles.

      Otherwise it will happen again.

      You can bet on it.

  18. Daveo 18

    Here’s the link. She’s not just a disgrace, she’s incompetent too.

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ckpt/ckpt-20130404-1753-wellington_mayor_uses_vote_to_contract_out_work_cut_jobs-048.mp3" /]

  19. Richard 19

    I am embarrassed and ashamed that I voted for her.

  20. Colonial Viper 20

    Len and Celia.

    Any other bright ideas for left wing mayors people?

    • The Al1en 20.1

      Paul Henry or the ghost of Paul Holmes

    • Jenny 20.2

      Any other bright ideas for left wing mayors people?

      Colonial Viper

      No more Mayors with the surname Brown?

      Seriously, elected members of political parties need to be made more accountable to their membership.

      I was disappointed that the Labour Party didn’t tear up Len Brown’s membership over his behaviour during the contracting out wrangle at the Ports of Auckland. Also with the Greens, If Wade Brown gets away this with her membership still in good keeping in the Green Party. This bodes very ill for the Green Party in government.

      The Green Party are not powerless in this matter (That is unless they choose to be, which opens a whole new can of worms)

      1/ The Green Party need to make an example of Wade Brown and they need to do it now. Before she damages their brand completely.
      By publicly canceling her party membership.

      2/ The Green Party also need to make an example of Wade Brown. So that all their elected officials know that their membership is on the line if they go against party principles.

      3/ The Green Party should announce now, that they will be running a Green Party Mayoral candidate against Wade Brown come the next Mayoral election.

      • The Chairman 20.2.1

        Indeed, Jenny.

        Waits for the Green’s response.

      • rosy 20.2.2

        The Green Party shouldn’t censure through her membership – it’a a free country… still… and Wade-Brown didn’t run for mayor as a Green Party candidate.

        They can express disappointment, of course, and imo should do that, strongly. But if they said anything, I’d expect them to do so through Iona Pannett who did run as a Green candidate.

        I think a few people were so keen to get rid of Pendergast they didn’t actually work out who Wade-Brown was and what her values were. Not being on a Green ticket was obviously a clue. The debacle over the Marine Education Centre should have told people more. In my view she was looking for business growth at the expense of the environment then and there was no reason to believe she wouldn’t be business-oriented in her mayoralty.

        Now, running a Green mayoral candidate against her would be a good move. Then she might cancel her membership herself… win-win.

        • The Chairman 20.2.2.1

          Nevertheless, she is widely accepted as the Green Mayor of Wellington, hence the Greens need to quickly distance themselves to protect their brand.

          • rosy 20.2.2.1.1

            Yes, I don’t disagree with that the Greens need to distance themselves from her. A strong statement and re-iterating that she is not a Green mayor, never has been, would do that.

            • The Chairman 20.2.2.1.1.1

              Not while remaining a Green Party member.

              Anything less than canceling her membership would look like a slap on the hand

              The association has to be totally cut.

              • Jenny

                Anything less than canceling her membership would look like a slap on the hand

                The Chairman

                Correction: Anything less would be an endorsement.

      • The Al1en 20.2.3

        “3/ The Green Party should announce now, that they will be running a Green Party Mayoral candidate against Wade Brown come the next Mayoral election.”

        I wrote (twice) to the party, stating the Green’s should be announcing plans to stand candidates in the local elections, full stop.
        Get Green councillors on councils and promote/enact Green policy, showing how it can work on a national level.
        Lib dems did in the UK before blowing it with the pact with the political devil.

        It may be a cost thing, it may be they don’t have the depth in personnel to pull of it, but I don’t know for sure as they never replied.

        • Rich 20.2.3.1

          I’d agree with that, mostly.

          AFAIK Iona Pannett *is* a Green sponsored councillor, though as mentioned earlier I’ve never been able to understand how she (and Wade-Brown, who *was* a Green councillor) was selected as such.

          In Auckland (and possibly other cities with FPP elections) the Green party has been part of City Vision, which is a tactical alliance of Labour, Green and Alliance. Running individual party candidates in Auckland would split the vote.

          Under STV this doesn’t apply, and I’d like to see Labour and Greens select mayoral candidates.

  21. xtasy 21

    Yes, very worrying stuff this is. I have come closer to the conclusion, that it does not seem to make much of a difference, whom we vote for in local or national government, as there are other powers and systems in place, that tie their hands so much, they will eventually all more or less do the same thing.

    CCOs in Auckland are one problem, thanks for Rodney Hide and consorts. In Wellington there are the stated systems in place, and hiring a hot shot outsourcer(er) from the UK will show that the mayor(ess) has only so much to say.

    Yet Central Government still has the final say on many issues and policies, but they believe in outsourcing, now also going to happen in welfare delivery, work capacity assessments UK style and more.

    We have developments that are NO longer true democracy, and hence I call this country now the Dictatorship of Aotearoa NZ. That is very bluntly where we are!

    I hope more will wake up and see the light, or lack thereof.

    • Tigger 21.1

      +1. I despair of a left Mayor who votes this way. She’s been a dreadful Mayor and just sealed her doom. Sadly a decent right wing candidate will win the next election.

      • Jenny 21.1.1

        She hasn’t sealed her (figurative) doom. If the Green Party decides to keep her alive by not giving her any censure.

        A light handed approach to Celia Wade Brown by the Greens tells us how their MPs will perform in government.

        With no risk of censure or discipline from their party, they are much more likely to succumb to political pressures to compromise, back down, and sell out.

        And so it will be.

        The Greens need to take a hard stand now or risk becoming a powerless rump held hostage to their parliamentary caucus. Who with out censure, will be influenced by all the vicissitudes of government. You can kiss democracy good by in that case. And the Green Party vote will decline to become irrelevant.

  22. millsy 22

    Political parties standing candidates in local body elections will end the whole charade of people being so obtuse about what they stand for in the election, instead going on about “great place to live”, “keep rates affordable”, “progress v afforability” and so on.

    Bring on ACT candidates who want to close libaries, Labour candidates who want to keep them open, Green candidates who want to give everyone a free recycling bin and National candidates who want to put an end to ‘waste’. (not to mention the Maori Party and Mana wanting to apply the principles of the Treaty)

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