DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO - COUNCIL OFFICIALS MOUNT ILLEGAL LOBBYING EFFORT
6 JULY 2016
“The planning officials at Auckland Council are shameless” says Jo Holmes, spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, reacting to today’s NZ Herald report that the Council has spent $370,000 on a spin campaign related to the Unitary Plan while preventing ordinary ratepayers from lobbying their own elected officials.
“While the Council’s bureaucrats were muzzling elected representatives by wheeling in their lawyers to warn against engaging with their constituents' opinions, they were secretly planning this massive PR campaign of advertising and paid social media to promote the planning department’s preferred version of the Unitary Plan. It is epitome of arrogance – do as we say, not as we do.”
"Why can’t we have a Council bureaucracy that believes in democracy and political neutrality, rather than one that uses our money to buy the political process?”
Earlier this month the Ratepayers’ Alliance called on the Council’s Manager of Financial Policy, Andrew Duncan, to resign after he labelled a Ratepayers’ Alliance campaign "misleading", despite being unable (or unwilling) to point to a single aspect which justified the claim.
Some 400 members of the Ratepayers’ Alliance have emailed Mr Duncan asking him to please explain. To date, Mr Duncan has not, nor has he done anything to provide the public confidence that he is making any efforts to remain politically independent.
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has called on Auckland Council bureaucrats to be politically neutral after they used $372000 of ratepayers’ money to buy influence for their preferred version of the Unitary Plan. At the same time Council has denied democracy to ratepayers by muzzling the majority of Councillors who oppose it.
If any greater proof were needed that Auckland Council officials are the real power in Auckland then look no further than the gagging order they have imposed on Councillors. At the same time as silencing elected officials, Brown’s Boys in the bureaucracy are spending $372,000 of ratepayers’ money on a propaganda campaign to shore up their plans for intensification even though this is opposed by the majority of Councillors. The campaign is intended to influence the Independent Hearings Panel’s decision on the Auckland Unitary Panel due later this month.
Things must be bad because even the Herald has picked up on the story.
Auckland councillors' concern over officials' involvement in Unitary Plan
Information is one thing, spin is another. A new mayor must sweep away the dirty politics being played by the bureaucracy. Head bully boy, CEO Stephen Town, must go along with the Council’s bloated propaganda department.
More than 100 of the world’s top scientists have signed a letter urging Greenpeace to drop its opposition to Golden Rice. Golden Rice is a genetically modified crop that reduces Vitamin A deficiencies. Vitamin A deficiencies cause blindness and death in children, mostly in the developing world. Hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest children have died from Vitamin A deficiency since Greenpeace blocked the introduction of Golden Rice two decades ago.
The letter states:
Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.
So the science is settled. What is the New Zealand Green Party’s response to the consensus of the world’s top scientists?
The Green Party says it will not soften its anti-genetic modification stance despite a plea from some of the world's top scientists, who say opposition by green groups is blocking GM foods that could help reduce disease in third-world countries.
The Greens are a fear-mongering mob. Fear is the currency that drives their politics, economics and philosophy. Like all such political forces they offers no hope for Mankind, only a lasting hatred of people, a hatred they have been allowed to peddle in the nation's classrooms for generations.
The Greens roll out the ‘scientific consensus’ in support of their equally destructive ‘climate change’ agenda, but turn into ‘science deniers’ when it suits.
Tell me, what is the point of ‘saving the planet’ when the Greens are happy to support the killing the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children.
Yesterday Nick Smith called for the State to confiscate private property.
“Landbankers could have property seized by the Government if the land is within certain areas marked for housing development.”
It was a statement worthy of Stalin himself. It is a statement that should be unthinkable from any government in New Zealand, let alone a National one, to make. It is a measure of just how undemocratic and divorced from reality the third term National Party has become.
National is floundering in the wake of accusations that it is doing nothing to ease housing supply. Like the Socialist government it has become, it believes throwing our money at the problem is going to help. It will not, at least not when you throw at a serial spendthrift like Len Brown. Brown is understandably over the moon. Just when he thought he’s maxed out the credit card along comes his mate John Key with promises of a billion dollar bailout. Here’s Whaleoil’s take on the ‘loan’.
Of course, Len Brown would have been excited. His council has been told it is no longer allowed to borrow any more money lest they risk their credit rating and pay lots more in interest costs. So, the government is doing nothing more than use its credit rating to get a lump sum of cash and essentially act as a guarantor for councils that have misdirected millions and millions over decades into sports stadiums, performing arts centres other non-essential infrastructure, instead of sticking to the basics of rubbish, reticulation and roading.
National is increasingly losing touch with its core voters who value democracy based on universal suffrage, the rule of law, individual liberty and private property rights.
Who would have thought that it would be a National Government that enabled unelected representatives to have voting rights on Councils; that grants rights and privileges to a small segment of the community based on a mythical notion of ‘race’ thus undermining the fundamental principle of one law for all. Now we have a government minister calling for the confiscation of property as if he were a Communist dictator.
It seems the lessons of Brexit are lost on Key. It was a rebellion of the little people against an autocratic, undemocratic State. They take their freedoms seriously in Britain. It remains to be seen if voters do in New Zealand.
Skypath is a disaster not only for the residents of Northcote Point but for all Auckland ratepayers who will end up picking up the tab when this white elephant fails to meet its projected patronage numbers. Just as the cost of Len Brown’s vanity project the CRL has already doubled to $5 billion and, I predict, will double again before the next mayoralty term is out, so has the cost of Skypath gone from $30 million to double that amount while the project is still in the planning stage.
Both these politically driven projects fail to meet any cost/benefit analysis or business case. Yet they are being foisted on hapless residents and ratepayers to meet the needs of the few ‘special needs’ people of Generation Zero, Cycle Action and their activist Auckland Council activist bureaucrats.
These two vanity projects alone will bankrupt the city because the government has yet to commit to the CRL. NZTA has yet to commit to Skypath, and Council has already reached its debt limit. Without taxpayer money neither project is viable. Despite this, Auckland Council is foolishly pushing ahead with both projects leaving Auckland ratepayers alone to pick up the tab.
The people of Northcote Point are fighting a rearguard action to keep their unique heritage area of Auckland safe from an invasion of mamil cyclists who want to destroy their heritage suburb forever. They need money to fight for their area in the coming Environment Court action that seeks to stop the Skypath madness in its tracks. To this end they have set up a ‘Give a little’ page asking for donations to help fund legal costs for their fight in the Environment Court.
No pedestrians will use Skypath, touted as being a shared path. To do so they would be taking their lives in their hands. It is only lycra-clad mamils that will make the long journey across the bridge into the city and they will attack the steep downhill stretch of the harbour bridge at speeds in excess of 70kph in an enclosed cage. Safety experts warn of the consequences.
As Skypath opponents point out “SkyPath is effectively a short-term, politically driven extravagance that simply cannot accommodate the huge crowds needed for its financial viability, either on the pathway itself, or at the end of the cul-de-sac suburbs (Northcote Point and Westhaven), where its entries are located."
This madness will continue until Auckland votes to rid its Council of spendthrift elected members like the Terrible Ten and replaces them with people of common sense and financial prudence.
UPDATED with a YouTube video of Brown denying freedom of speech to Councillor George Wood
Auckland Council is using ratepayers’ own money to try and silence ratepayers like myself who are critical of the high spending, high debt regime of Brown and Hulse. They are also trying to muzzle Councillors critical of the Brown/Hulse nexus. Here is a comment by Councillor Cameron Brewer after the latest Hulse crack down.
You wont hear us mere councillors publicly talking about the Unitary Plan after we got the hard word from the CEO and Deputy Mayor not to compromise Auckland Council's imminent decision-making role. However ever since their edict the Deputy Mayor has been (aka DM reappointment campaign) on a media blitz talking about housing and land supply issues and promoting her personal and political remedies (including appearing on nationwide TV on an expert housing panel espousing her three point plan and writing an opinion piece in the Herald) and now the CEO is threatening if we don't pass the Unitary Plan as the IHP serves it up to council this month the Government "may consider stepping in." Regardless of your politics or views on the unitary plan something is very very wrong here.
Yes indeed there really is something very wrong here. It could hardly be worse if we were living in an authoritarian Communist regime. Perhaps the rumours of investigations into the conduct of Auckland Council’s CEO Stephen Town have caused him to react to growing criticism by cracking down on freedom of speech.
UPDATE: Here is a video of Brown/Hulse/Towns smirking together like two year olds they are while denying freedom of speech to Councillor George Wood
Town's Council’s Communications (spin) Department, who back the Hulse/Brown nexus, its Terrible Ten Councillors and their acolytes seeking public office, are interfering in the democratic process to influence the outcome of the upcoming local body elections.
Social media site Facebook banned me for three days on my return from holiday even though I had not posted a blog or any comments for three weeks. I shared two petitions on Facebook and then, whammo, a ban with no explanation as to why. Obviously, some malign, undemocratic influence is at work.
Auckland Council has real clout on Facebook using large amounts of ratepayer dollars to promote itself at our expense. Council’s Communication Department, whose social media expert is political activist bureaucrat Jessica Etheridge, therefore has considerable influence. My imminent return to political commentary through my blogs and as spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance ahead of the local body elections was obviously seen as a threat.
The ban came hot on the heals of a media release by the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance where I called for the resignation of Andrew Duncan, Auckland Council’s Manager of Financial Policy.
FINANCIAL POLICY MANAGER SHOULD RETRACT ALLEGATION OR RESIGN
Duncan made his comments in Council's ratepayer funded propaganda magazine 'Our Auckland' that goes to every ratepayer in Auckland.
Political activist bureaucrats are the bane of democracy in an increasingly undemocratic local government system in New Zealand. If Council bureaucrats insist on playing politics and abandon their traditionally neutral role they must expect to come under scrutiny from political commentators. That is what democracy is all about.