The year is pretty much done. Last day of school for most, which means a lot of staggering by the residents around the central city and surrounds tonight as the ghost is stomped (hello Gisborne) and the year put to rest.
The year has been busy with the local body elections and the somewhat, flat, end to the previous Council’s tenure. The last lot will go down as the Council who did three parts of bugger all and couldn’t agree on much.
The elections were very civil for the most part here. Everyone got on with everyone else and little scandal was to be had. We have new Councillors who with any luck will hit their stride next year.
I have to say that the new Council start has been somewhat disappointing. I know its early days but we seem to see some of the old behaviours creeping in from various Council members. Not all, I think that the new kids on the block, once they figure out the Council is burying them in paper, should fire up and hopefully get some things done.
The Green Bloc has been reduced, hopefully, but we still have Celia, Helene, Iona, and Mark Peck (yup, he’s going in there) likely to be foiling as the term presses on. Perhaps Paul Eagle as well if he chooses to tow the Labour line instead of his constituents wishes.
Despite electioneering by several Councillors that pushed for a reduced rate increase we are already seeing evidence of yet another increase. Of course, we get nothing for that, just a few less dollars that are poured into the overall machine and the early look at the Draft Plan seems to focus on Green, Social, sinkholes that are likely to see that increase, well, increase.
The Draft Plan out for consultation early next year, oh ho ho (consultation), is already trumpeting more bicycle lanes and a complete imbalance in transport. Nothing about improved public transport. Nothing about improved transport links. Nothing about fixing our car park buildings. You voted them in Wellington, best you go buy a bicycle because by the end of this term the congestion and travel times will be through the ceiling.
So we see the left, blind, ideological push still occurring. Most recently this week the living wage being passed that, by the time it is fully implemented, will cost us, by my estimation, and additional 3,250,000 per year. Nicola Young proposed a good question that was shut down by the left, how many of those Councillors that voted on it paid their own employees that wage or intended too? Mark Peck told everyone that he won’t. Disappointing to see these hard left socialists who are quite happy to dip into our wallets to pay staff but completely unwilling to do it when it is their wallet. Double standards, no doubt we’ll see more of that. Maybe I expect too much from our politicians but it seems that saying one thing and doing another is the norm.
Kudos to Celia for bowing to pressure and scrapping the money to Councillors for boards, in particular, the Wellington International Airport, this goes a long way to transparency and reduce conflict of interest. Here’s hoping we see more transparency and less “Public Excluded.” One can hope, eh.
Council faces a tough battle to re-engage the public and three things will hurt this.
The first is the kind of statements by Peck on his Facebook page where after nearly being run over by a cyclist considered pulling support for cycleways. This shows the Helene Ritchie style of having made a decision (hello Alcohol Reform) despite consultation with public being underway or not started. That means you too, Jo Coughlan, for creating what is possibly the most ugly city logo, ever, which 80% of us hate, then not backing down. Perhaps Jo would be better working on the Airport Board, actually no, at least the WIAL bow down to public pressure. It’s just arrogant to think you know better than the rest of us.
The second is curtowing to party wishes as opposed to residents. Why can’t we have a rule whereby all Councillors have to abandon party tickets and be independant? It shows a stunning lack of courage where Councillors put the wishes of their party before the wishes of their residents. Cowardly is probably not a strong enough word.
Consultation is not changing anytime soon. People make submissions and 99% of the time are ignored.
Business as usual I guess, sadly.
My support still goes to Sarah Free (have you moved to Eastern Suburbs yet Sarah?), Paul, David, Ray, Simon, Malcolm, Simon, and Nicola. By far and away I think they display the kind of qualities that you expect in a public servant Councillor role. As to the rest, well, you’ve yet to convince me.
Issues that are important to the residents don’t seem to be high on the agenda. Rates increases, public transport, climate change response, local business, smart city, ICT, and so on. In fact, in one of the most telling. backwards, dinosaur moves of the new Council the ICT portfolio was dumped. This despite the fact that ICT is clean, green, and will challenge dairy in terms of export. A move generally considered stupid by my colleagues in the industry.
The million plus being spent on the airport plan smells like a White Elephant. Even the WIAL doesn’t support it, so why are we pouring cash into consultants pockets exactly?
So far, this Council is scoring low for me, it will be interesting to see what the Draft Plan looks like, but I think we can expect more of the left, social, unbalanced views that we’ve had for a while. It will be up to the newer Councillors and balanced hands to turn it.
Running a city isn’t easy, that much is true, but that’s what they signed up for.
Nationally next year the general election will dominate. It’s John Key versus a foaming left. John has been let down by some poor choices along the way and he’ll need to find some new friends or run outright. Colin Craig is a bad choice, given we have dropped our religious fancy as a country as of last census, putting a right-wing, Christian Fundamentalist Party up as an partner is dubious.
Labour still needs to grow a set, chopping Shearer is likely to hurt them. Internal ructions are still going on. The Greens seem to be having some kind of leadership challenge. No doubt a summer solstice party might sort that out, who knows. Minor parties are falling all over the place.
If National gets back in then the Council will face an economic problem of epic proportions. National loves Auckland, doesn’t give a toss about Wellington, and is playing the colonial governor of Christchurch by the way of Brownlee and CERA. Regardless, hang on to your hats Wellington, property prices down, unemployment up, and cheap office space by the acre.
Anyway, merry xmas to you all, thanks for the support, I’ll be back in the New Year (unless something really gets my goat before then, great expression, “gets my goat”) and I wish you all the best for a decent break.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my beer in the sun at the Strathmore Local.
PS This is post 300 for Strathmore Park and yes, I know my grammar is shit sometimes, blame it on the Pilsner and Passion.