Maori Statutory Board

Fran O’Sullivan on Brown’s bullying and corporate governence

Fran O’Sullivan doesn’t mince words when talking about and dissecting the recent actions of Auckland’s power mad mayor.

Her article is on the NZ Herald website.

There is a suspicion that the mayor’s office is now charging ahead with too many initiatives simply to take the heat off [Len] Brown on other fronts. The manner in which Len Brown deploys his considerable powers as Mayor of Auckland deserves greater scrutiny by elected members of the Auckland Council.

Formally the Mayor of Auckland is legislatively tasked with promoting and leading a vision for Auckland, as well as leading the development of council plans, policies and budgets.

Brown occupies one of the most powerful positions in New Zealand. It is a position which clearly vests a great deal of trust in any incumbent – far too much, in my view – allowing them to push through too many personal policy platforms without requiring them to be appropriately put to the test other than support from councillors.

In Brown’s case, the most recent example was his advocacy for a living wage policy which he managed to get through the council’s budget committee, with help from a couple of Independent Maori Statutory Board members (including John Tamihere), to give him the requisite majority of 11 to nine in a vote.

A substantial policy initiative – like a living wage – should be debated thoroughly on the basis of full background papers on its implications for the broader council finances.¬† Read more »

Good news for Auckland

I know it is hard to come by these days with Len Brown raiding our wallets with never ending rates increases, blowing millions of silly bridges and a stupid rail loop, but there is some good news:

A tactical blunder by Mayor Len Brown has stopped the Maori Statutory Board from having a say on next year’s budget.

Councillors voted 11-10 yesterday for the budget to be discussed by the full council and not at the strategy and finance committee. Two board members, chairman David Taipari and John Tamihere, sit on the strategy and finance committee with full voting rights, but the board is not represented on the full council.

Councillor Christine Fletcher wanted the budget discussed by the full council with support from councillor George Wood, who expressed concern about involvement of unelected Maori.

Instead of taking his motion to refer the draft budget to the strategy and finance committee, Mr Brown invited Ms Fletcher to put an amendment to send it to the full council, confidently predicting it would be lost and the main motion would pass. Mr Brown declared the amendment was lost on a vote of voices, but when a division was called the vote was carried 11-10.

After the lunch break, Mr Brown tried to reverse the decision with an impassioned speech about the damage to the council’s relationship with the Maori Statutory Board, but failed to get the 75 per cent support required to do so. The vote was 13-6.

Mr Taipari said Super City legislation allowed the board to participate in the budget. The matter would be discussed at its meeting on November 5.

The Huddle

I was on the Huddle last night with Larry Williams and Josie Pagani.

Our topics were:

  • The government response to the Waitangi Tribunal report.
  • Then we‚Äôve got the Auckland Maori Statutory Board ¬†for the Auckland council wanting to¬†lots of pie in the sky things with ratepayers money.
  • And last but not least, a free hit on Colin Craig and his Key is ‚Äútoo gay‚ÄĚ pamphlets.

The Huddle at 1740

I am on the Huddle tonight at 1740 with Larry Williams and Josie Pagani.

Our topics will be:

  • The government response to the Waitangi tribunal report.
  • Then we’ve got the Auckland Maori Statutory Board ¬†for the Auckland council wanting to lots of pie in the sky things with ratepayers money.
  • And last but not least, a free hit on Colin Craig and his Key is “too gay” pamphlets.

You can listen online, and I will post the audio tomorrow morning as usual.

The Two Faces of Len Brown

Yesterday, Len Brown gave his thoughts about the proposed multi-million dollar spendup by the Maori Statutory Board, including bi-lingual street signs (aren’t half of all street names in Maori anyway?), compulsory Maori language in schools (you will recall how the education curriculum is a council responsibility), insulating Maori homes (others can shiver) and plus pork and puha barrel politics like a Maori cultural centre and a sculpture park (high margin make work scheme for the boys and girls).

Len Brown, 10am on Marae Investigates: ‚ÄúOf course it will. It will become a reality. Not all of it. No one gets everything they want but‚Ķ Good parts of this plan will become a reality because it is our present and our future.”

Len Brown, 6pm on One News: ‚ÄúNo! I‚Äôm just happy with the way it is, and the way in which it is basically developing organically.‚ÄĚ

So which Len do we believe?

The one that told Maori he will turn on the funding tap for ratepayer dosh?

Or the one that told the rest of New Zealand he won’t turn on the tap?

The only thing ratepayers can be certain of is that Len is capable of slapping both his faces silly when the pressure cooker is on.

Council fratricide on Thursday – pass it on

The streets will flow with the blood of left-wingers after this coming Thurday’s Auckland Council committee meeting on the Ports of Auckland industrial dispute.

To be discussed at the meeting will be a series of questions posed by Richard Northey and answered by Auckland Council Investments’ Gary Swift.

Also on the table will be the nutty and pathetic tablings of Local Boards (they who are so clearly not tasked with regional and investment matters) who have even had MUNZ come and whinge to them about what is happening. This is all a bit ho-hum.

What is going to really set the cat amongst the pigeons is Richard Northey’s motion as chair:

‚ÄĘ That the Accountability and Performance Committee express to the Ports of Auckland and to the Maritime Union:

i) its strong desire for an immediate return to good faith bargaining aimed at the achievement of a fair collective agreements that further significantly improves port efficiency, and
ii) its opposition to the redundancy and contracting out of 292 port workforce positions as proposed.

This amounts to political interference amongst the management of the Ports. Should this motion pass, then the left will have massively backflipped – and in the process handing a massive humiliation to Len Brown who has said his hands are tied and he won’t interfere.

It will also be interesting to see which councillors do not turn up (like last time), or choose to abstain. This includes Len Brown, whose failure to turn up last time kicked off the cunning C&R strategy of baiting Len into a foolish and compromising position of “supporting both sides” in mid January.

Brown is now tasked with an even worse set of choices thanks to Richard Northey’s desperation to show he is a worker’s mate.

a) Don’t turn up and be called a coward
b) Turn up and vote for the motion, completely upending his council and risking central government wrath (with the wrath rumoured to include legislation that the council might not like)
c) Turn up and vote down the motion, doing the right thing but further hurting his support with the militant left

I will be counting on the votes of the 5 C&R councillors, plus independents to show that it’s NOT the business of council politicians to publicly contradict and countermand previous decisions it made to support the boards of its investment wing. (Remember than on 8 December, the council voted at this same committee to back the Ports board and Auckland Council Investments). Nominally centre-right councillors like Penny Webster, Michael Goudie, and Calum Penrose, plus centrists like Arthur Anae, Sir John Walker and Sharon Stewart will be scrutinised heavily to see if they back this hard left retrograde step to inferfere in the management of the Ports.

On top of this – the votes of the two unelected Maori Statutory Board members will be scrutinised hard too.

This is going to be the showdown of the council term – this vote may define the Len Brown and Labour-left led council in the same way the Waterfront Stadium debate of the Hubbard Council wrecked the inter-personal relationships between left-wing councillors and humiliated Dick Hubbard publicly.

Whaleoil Redux 2011 – Q1

Today is the last day of the year and what a year it has been. The chaos and mayhem I created was:

January 2011 – 151 posts

The new year started with yet another case of celebrity name suppression. Martin Devlin had thrown a tanty and decided to bounce on the bonnet of his missus’ car. With the ensuing media frenzy he eventually outed himself.

I called time on the Royal NZ Ballet:

From the latest available published accounts for the Royal NZ Ballet.

For the 2009 year.

Ministry for Culture and¬†Heritage funding ‚Äď $3,959,000
Sponsorship and donations ‚Äď $2,010,000
Box office revenue ‚Äď $2,631,000
Total Revenue  Р$8,600,000

On these figures the Royal NZ Ballet bludges $1.50 for every dollar they raise in ticket sales. That’s right, you and I pay $1.50 for every $1.00 some liberal elite wanker pays to sit and watch ballet.

I interviewed Judith Collins for my Summer Series interviews. I am yet to decide if I will do another Summer series.

I outed the Albany Superette for selling P-Pipes. It subsequently was followed in the MSM days later. I next day I got my first legal threat of the year.

On January 9 I highlighted Sunday Star Times and their dodgy polling company Horizon. They never learned from that post and went on to become completely discredited with their methodology and results. It still didn’t stop Radio Live from featuring them, though I understand that Horizon actually paid Mediaworks to do it.

I drove halfway down the Napier-Taupo highway to meet Garth McVicar for my Summer Series interviews. Followed up a few days later with an interview with Trevor Mallard. I doubt he will do another. While in Wellington I also popped in for coffee with Celia Wade-Brown and talked about her victory in the local body elections.

I started asking questions about Len Brown’s 100 things in 100 days. Len Brown starts to desperately look for things to do in his 100 days. On day 79 Len Brown released 52 things he was going to do.

On January 20 I reminded Len Brown about his promise for a referendum on Maori seats. This was before the Maori Statutory Board blew up in his face:

He made this promise throughout the campaign, but has chickened out of a referendum. On Q&A he was trying to buy himself some wriggle room.

On TVNZ‚Äôs Q & A yesterday, Mr Brown said a referendum on creating Maori seats on the council ‚Äúmay well‚ÄĚ be possible in the next three years

This blog has reminded him of his promise here, here and here.

Brian Rudman felt obliged to attack Len Brown and his failure of the 100 things in 100 days promise.

I had a beer with Chris Trotter for my Summer Series interviews. I also went to the Unite Union bunker and interviewed Matt McCarten.

I asked whether or not Labour was snooping on your emails. This story develops in later months.

I started my battle with the Teachers unions.

The good people at Kaimata Retreat get suspicious of a lying blonde tart and google Pearl Going. They subsequently contact me and I out her re-emergence as a bullshit artist.

After Phil Goff handed in his man card by dying his hair I started a series of hair do suggestions for him.

 February 2011 Р187 posts

Chris Hipkins kicked off the first SMOG of Labour with porn spam on Facebook profile.

On February 2 John Key said no to Winston Peters and set the election date.

Len Brown finally released his full list of 100 useless things he was going to do inside 100 days.

On the 6th of February Len Brown fell for the classic Michael Bloomberg train sting. Jonathan Marshall and a photographer bust Len Brown and his hypocrisy over riding the rails to work.

The pressure built on Len Brown over his little train ride double standard.

I told Nikki Kaye that she could have a gay Mardis Gras but only if the government or council didn’t pay for it.

Michael Wood announced on 11 February that he wanted to ensure that there were no penis lollies in Botany despite the fact that there were no penis lollies in Botany.

Trevor Mallard uses Red Alert to attack Jami-lee Ross as a “Tory lump of lard” and accuses him of being a “nasty piece of work”.

On February 15 I said that Carmel Sepuloni wouldn’t win in Waitakere.

On 16 February I highlighted for the first time the skulduggery that was going on in Rodney electorate for the National party selection.

It was in February that we had a rash of MSM writing articles completely unrelated to Hanover and Mark Hotchin but tied them in in either headlines or the body of the article.

The Rodney Selection skulduggery continued. At this stage it only involved a local and the electorate chair, it was however to go much deeper than this. I then outed the involvement of a former South African white supremacist in the manipulations in the Rodney selections. It took several posts to tell the story.

Having dealt with the local skulduggery in Rodney it then became apparent that that there was two separate cases of skulduggery going down. The rather inept local incident with Brent Robinson and then the involvement of the regional hierarchy in attempting to stack appointed delegates. The Rodney selection was then postponed. It was to get much worse.

Serious muckraking was then deployed against Mark Mitchell. It was run by a sitting board member and involved a journalist as well. Things were getting very murky in Rodney electorate.

March 2011 – 187 posts

The Rodney selection was delayed so an audit of membership could be completed. On 4 March the selection process was cancelled and a new selection processed launched such was the level of skulduggery. A serious miscarriage of justice in selection was averted. The irony is the board member most deeply involved int eh murk now claims credit for halting the selection. This is hugely ironic because it was him that was visiting delegates with printouts of websites, a tactic that was later employed in Coromandel by the same board member on behalf of the same candidate.

The day after Jami-lee Ross won the Botany by-election Phil Goff claimed victory for the Labour party.

Speaking of the Labour party, I helpfully make some suggestions for their coming campaign. They ignored them. We know where that ended up.

Trevor Mallard hits a snag using email.

I leaked an email from Perry Rush of the NZPF outlining how they were going to run a campaign against Anne Tolley.

The very first Txts from New York.

I reviewed my Savage 17HMR from Hamills.

Hold the referendum Len

Len Brown has a problem. He has crawled and weaseled and been sneaky and furtive over his dealings with the Maori Statutory Board. Now the demands are rolling in.

The Maori Statutory Board is seeking $295 million over 10 years from Auckland ratepayers to advance Maori interests.

A Maori events centre, access to affordable housing, funding for Maori wardens, a marae development fund and ranger training for parks, particularly on ancestral land, are on a long list of items the independent board wants funded.

A greater say in the day-to-day running of the Super City is a top priority with Maori participating in setting bylaws and regional planning, and greater provision for the Treaty of Waitangi in council documents.

Yesterday, councillors at a strategy and finance committee meeting rejected the late addition of $295 million into the draft 10-year budget, but asked officers to go away and see where the board’s request matched existing budgets.

Len Brown should honour his election promise and hold a referendum on maori representation for the council. This sort of nonsense needs to end. Ratepayers are being held to ransom.

Maori Statutory Board chairman David Taupiri said the board was seeking 3 per cent of the council’s budget for 10 per cent of the population.

He said the funding request was a “foresight of Parliament”, which set up the independent board to ensure Maori were recognised in the Super City.

David Taupiri is actually advocating double dipping. The 10 percent of the population that he proclaims he is representing already enjoy all the same services the council provides as everyone else. What they are asking for is a special payement, a bonus for maori, but is in actual fact a tax on all ratepayers.

Wishy-washy Mayors

Celia Wade¬†Brown¬†is copping a flogging in the DomPost after her tirade¬†against¬†the deputy Mayor:¬†Editorial: Wellington can’t afford a wishy-washy mayor.

Those who crossed Ms Prendergast knew she bore grudges, sometimes mistaking dissent for disloyalty. But even the critics recognised that she knew what she wanted to achieve for the city and had developed strategies for corralling the votes for the policies that she wanted to implement.

Against that, Ms Wade-Brown looks less sure-footed. Her more inclusive style has brought those hitherto regarded as outliers into her tent, but because her leadership is more tentative, less certain, she is finding that these cats are still difficult to herd. In fact, her style has caused some to wonder aloud if she has the leadership skills and political nous to maintain the momentum that marked the terms of predecessors.

People didn’t vote for Celia Wade-Brown, they voted against Kerry Prendergast, and now it seems they are going to suffer a bit of voters remorse.

Auckland’s plethora of councils are now one, giving that metropolis huge political clout. To counter it, this region too must speak with one voice. That means the mayor of its largest city must be pragmatic, energetic and decisive.

If Ms Wade-Brown prefers impotent idealism to realpolitik, she will be a one-term mayor. And the city will have wasted three precious years.

If Wellington can’t afford a wishy-washy mayor then neither can Auckland. Len Brown likewise is copping a flogging but for very different reasons:¬†Brian Rudman: Undemocratic mess must be cleaned up.

The unelected Maori Statutory Board went boo, and Mayor Len Brown and a majority of his councillors buckled.

And then the mayor’s own personal PR spinner Bernard Orsman also gives him a swipe:

Last week, Mayor Len Brown, who promised a transparent administration, opposed a move by nine councillors for an open debate on a funding package for the Maori Statutory Board.

This followed an attack by the Automobile Association on the mega-transport council-controlled organisation (CCO) for acting in secrecy and the Waitemata Local Board being stopped from talking about a secret deal condemning heritage buildings in the Wynyard Quarter.

In all these cases, Mr Brown, the Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have been criticised for keeping the public in the dark about important issues.

Len Brown certainly campaigned on transparency, he sat on a train in his campaign video and promised us he would open, honest, transparent and he would open the books. So far he has been the exact opposite of that. He has been secretive, furtive, lied, and the books still remain closed.

Six months into his mayoralty and Len Brown looks like he would be out of his depth in a car park puddle.

 

Is ACT Rooted?

There has been a lot of talk about how ACT is doomed at the next election. They have appalling Party Vote poll numbers but they always do in non-election years, and Helen Clark would be a shoo in to beat Rodney in Epsom. In fact this is probably a little unkind on Helen, as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy or Keith Locke would probably beat Rodney.

Mathew Hooton talks about this and what it means in his NBR article. What he overlooks is that the reason for ACT’s unpopularity is not because of their policies, but because of their leader.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Rodney but friends have to sometimes be a little frank with their opinions and only true friends will be truly honest. Rodney Hide has done his level best to alienate the voter base. He has been proven to be a hypocrite on spending. He was a little indiscrete with his new relationship with a woman 20 years younger than him, but at least he has married and made an honest woman of her now. Politicians‚Äô personal lives are often messy, but they are not usually played out in the media. Rodney has emerged from his Local Government portfolio with little credit, and a big negative for his poor implementation of the Super City part of his portfolio, the latest black mark being the fuss and bother over the Maori Statutory Board.

Private polling in Epsom shows that Rodney will lose heavily to John Banks, Colin Craig or Don Brash. He would lose to any National candidate no matter what National’s campaign manager tells the PM to say.

This lack of popularity is a vote against Rodney, not against ACT. Rodney is leading ACT to oblivion. It is still a party with substantial backers, and policies that resonate with many in New Zealand, especially with the National Party moving so far to the centre. It is easy to imagine the new leader of ACT saying that their bottom lines are abolition of the ETS, real cuts to the overpaid, bloated Wellington bureaucracy, and clear end to Treaty grievances. Additional policies of ending middle class welfare and interest free student loans would provide a nice contrast with the fuzzy, not really standing for anything much National Party.

The question for ACTs backers is do they let one man’s ego wreck a party they have spent nearly two decades and millions of their dollars building? Or do they cut him adrift and place a good politician in Epsom to save the seat and save ACT?

With the increasing likelihood that Winston Peters will stand in Epsom this issue is one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Meanwhile National too has decisions to make regarding Epsom.