Sunday, May 24, 2009

In place of strife

I find myself impressed, as I am sure do you, by the business-like efficiency of this present government when it comes to the future governance of Auckland. It seems like only yesterday that the Royal Commission made its report, and only lunchtime since that report was deftly modified by that nice Mr Key to leave out all the uncomfortable bits. And yet now we have a Transition Agency, its members appointed by the Minister in charge of the Hen House, Mr Rodney Hide. The Transition Agency of course bears no resemblance to the Interim Government which is ruling Fiji by force of arms, and Mr Hide should not be referred to by the title of Commodore.

The agency will be headed by Mark Fnord, currently the head of Watercare, which provides (with care) water to the Auckland authorities over which his Agency now has authority. There is no conflict of interest, of course. One of the Agency's members is Chair of the Eden Park Redevelopment Board, which is receiving large amounts of money to ensure the Super City will have a super stadium for the super Rugby World Cup. Again, there is no conflict of interest. The other members are largely without interest – although one brings unwanted local government experience to the table, having been Mayor of somewhere called Rodney – a part of the Auckland region which does not want to be part of the Super City.

Similar brisk efficiency was evinced in the establishment of a select committee of Parliament to review the legislation which will provide us fortunate Aucklanders with a Super City. Under the old way of enacting legislation, select committees considered such legislation before it was enacted. Not so under this Government: the legislation was passed under Urgency, which meant no need for a select committee, it being an Urgent matter. Instead, a select committee has been established after the Act. To make matters brisker and more efficient still, the Chairman of the the committee will be Mr John Carter, who is also a Minister for Local Government.

You see, and I am sure you will, select committees under the old way of government were charged with examining proposed legislation. This involved lots of paperwork going back and forth and lots of inconvenient questions for Ministers. By appointing one of the Ministers as Chairman of the select committee, this sort of red tape is avoided. He brings to the table his experience of the legislation which he helped enact and is well-placed to answer any questions that might be raised by recalcitrant members of the committee, those appointed from the Opposition benches. Any further legislation can be enacted swiftly.

You will see also that this streamlined process has avoided any need for public scrutiny of the legislation. Instead, a series of public meetings is being held, chaired by the hard-working Mr Carter, by Ms Nikki Kaye (also a member of the select committee) or by other members from the Government benches. Miss Kaye, in particular, is expected to use her usual consultative techniques of stating that she "acknowledges" any dissenting voices and looking through a folder of papers for something to say. These meetings will obviate the need for any contribution to the legislative process by the citizens of Auckland. In no time at all, the region will be a Super City, regardless of what its citizens might want.

In short, all is well. As someone once said in entirely different circumstances: go back to your constituencies, and prepare for government.

1 comment:

Pablo said...

According to Deloitte, a company that currently ears updwards of $5m a year in consulting fees (and other fees as auditor) the Super City merger will be a doddle:

"Whoever takes on the job of interim chief executive needs to take a pragmatic view as if he were working in a commercial setting. When you step out of the emotion and politics, this is no different to any other billion-dollar merger."Considering NZ's experience in billion-dollar mergers, that puts my mind at rest.