At the parish pump
The Head Cheerleader tonight is crowing about barely keeping Banks' head above water:
But isn't that...?
Curia Research, isn't that...?
The same David Farrar... who concluded his post of this afternoon by saying of Phil Goff's Auckland policy speech:
What is most surprising about the speech, is what Phil did not mention. Why did Phil not mention the Maori seats? Labour’s policy is to legislate for reserved seats for Maori on the Auckland Council? Has he forgotten that policy? Why on earth would he not even mention their policy in a speech about the changes he would make to the Auckland Council?
That's Farrar at 1:37pm. Then there's Rodney Hide...
who concluded his post this afternoon by saying of Phil Goff's Auckland policy speech:
"I am also surprised that Phil Goff makes no mention of his party's commitment to ensure Maori seats on the Auckland Council. Presumably Labour now agrees with the government on this - that it's a matter best left for the people of Auckland to decide for themselves," he said."
Just one whacky coincidence after another.
I was at Phil Goff's Auckland policy speech today coincidentally, but not in a whacky way, and I can confirm that the speech as written - and that the
John Key dropped the Royal Commission’s recommendation of Maori seats after Rodney Hide threatened to resign – preempting the select committee which was in the process of public submissions on the issue.
But Goff did take questions afterwards and was asked specifically about Maori representation and replied that he agreed with the concept of Tangata Whenua seats on the Council. It's not a secret - I'm sure David Shearer said he was in favour of Maori representation during the by-election. I think it is understood that some form of direct Maori representation is to be made on the Council should Labour become the government. But the fact Labour's official vision for Auckland laid little emphasis upon it is probably a sop to conservatism and to caution. A sop especially to Chris Trotter's nagging, but ascendant, Rhodesianesque cultural/racial insecurity zeitgeist amongst the Pakeha baby-boomer generation.
The vibe that Labour strategists think will swing the middle voters back isn't progressive and it isn't liberal and consequently it means they're not going to talk up anything Maori. They don't think they have anything to gain from it now that the Maori Party have have taken a majority of the Maori seats. They have pitched the last two campaigns to voters low enough so they can get through the racist flack - by saying nothing that will trigger anyone in the smoko room from making a negative comment about Labour. But what Goff is in danger of doing, by flying under the radar of the donka room bigot who would be set off by any talk of "giving" Maori "reserved" seats - is the danger he won't appear on any radar, at all, ever.He has to make an impact - and despite the polling - he's the only one on the team who can.
Goff is a better speaker in person than he ever will be on TV. And it's not as if the media want to do him any favours either: One News had a very brief item on this as the very last piece of news (before the finance news) and it was entirely constructed in terms of Rodney Hide dismissing his ideas as something they won't do. The point was that the next Labour government will, but this was lost.
Amongst the major points for me were a commitment by a future Labour government to give the community-level boards more responsibility and a review of the ward system. Although Labour - and if you read Farrar, also the right - want a form of FPP single member constituencies. This suits the big parties as it is easier to manage and the system as a whole is more likely to sustain a stable, binary situation where they can take turns at power. It is precisely because it is jacked-up in that fashion that it is unsatisfactory. It is going to be as unfair as the FPP parliamentary electorates are.
However a lot of positive things were mooted including the Mayor sitting on Cabinet Committees concerning Auckland. Given that Auckland will only have one mayor and given that a lot of local legislation does need to go through and that policies of central government and Auckland will overlap - or conflict - then it is a practical suggestion. And other Mayors too, he said. Fine.
He said that a 35 year contract - for private-public partnerships - is too long and akin to privatisation. Great, I tend to agree that a whole generation is one hell of a contract; but how long is too long? He said the CCO council organisations would have to be reformed as their powers to make bylaws and consume rates without accountability was fundamentally undemocratic. But the most interesting commitment he made was to rail. A second harbour crossing that could take rail to the North Shore, put the lines underground, and complete a link to the airport. Solid stuff. Not costed, but it doesn't have to be to be a popular idea - Phil's learning to be aspirational.
As for the third - and final - Auckland Bill progressing through parliament its select committee report is now delayed to the 24th of May.