SPEECH: 'Bro-Cal Government” – What Future With Separatist Local Government?
Speech to Local Government New Zealand Annual Conference,
Auckland Room 3 & 4
SkyCity Convention Centre
24 July 2017
Thank you for this invitation.
To whomever becomes your next President there are major challenges facing local government, which we will be outlining today.
Of course we cannot look past the states of emergency declared throughout the South Island. All of our thoughts are with the affected communities and we appreciate the hard work that the emergency services and defence force, contractors and utility workers have all put in.
Coordinated of course by our excellent civil defence network.
If we had an hour we could canvass issues from your role in local procurement to spiralling costs for rates to a worrying climate of ‘them and us’ that’s growing between councils and the rural community especially.
We would have time to go into important issues like how to fix road funding once and for all. Then there are earthquake prone buildings, which could end up making the leaky buildings seem child’s play, such is the potential impact on rural towns and communities especially.
Then there is local government amalgamation we are not especially big fans of.
We come today as messengers from the people who we serve – our residents, ratepayers and taxpayers.
Your Manifesto underlines a serious concern in politics in New Zealand today at all levels. Take your five strategic policy priorities - they look fine but something seriously is missing.
None of those five priorities seems to be about what residents and ratepayers are screaming out for!
Affordable services. And which PR firm, for example, came up with “stronger cities and urban environments,” including, “The performance of cities underpins national success.”
It is the hinterland of all our cities that is their economic lifeblood. Our cities were born of the hinterland and not the reverse and a lot of so-called representatives have forgotten that.
Do we take it Local Government now subscribes to the zombie-town lie?
And what about the 1.72 million Kiwis who do not live in the big cities?
It may have been Nick Smith’s plan to redraw the map to make it Auckland and the rest of us. Then again Nick Smith has got the Midas touch in reverse. Everything that he has touched, from the Resource Management Act to housing, to the environment and swimmable rivers, has needed serious wastewater treatment!
New Zealand First’s plan is to put a capital ‘L’ back into Local Government.
New Zealand First views local government as vital but we don’t believe New Zealand’s future is a “paint by numbers exercise.”
New Zealand has tried a radical right wing economic experiment since 1984 and it has landed us with an asset stripped, deleveraged economy based around imports and property bubbles, and right down the bottom half of the OECD on nearly everything.
Post 1984, the old parties have thrown up retail governments to serve their product - a retail economy.
Smart countries understand that the future is based upon smart connected world-class towns and cities – Scandinavia, Switzerland and Singapore being just some examples.
With them New Zealand First agrees. Our economic policies reflect that and we’re not going to stand by to let experimental economic policies further gouge out regional New Zealand, its cities, its towns, its communities or, its people.
And has someone at LGNZ missed the memo about disruptive technologies that’ll render large office blocks “downtown,” as relevant as the slide rule? There’s no reason, shockingly deficient broadband notwithstanding, why a Kiwi Google couldn’t be in Balclutha or Kawakawa.
New Zealand First has a plan to unleash the fastest broadband speeds where the real economy is – from our regions to the cities because we need each other. It is not as the current wisdom would have it an ‘either/or.’
We’ll tell you what else we will be doing. New Zealand First will be relocating Crown Agencies and departments from Auckland and Wellington out to the regions.
Infrastructure Faces a Massive Debt Chasm
Only last month, your CEO said that the replacement infrastructure bill, for continuing water supply, carting and treating waste and dealing with storm water, will cost up to $100 billion.
That does not include other infrastructure like roads, bridges and municipal buildings.
What was Mr Joyce’s response? He said that you must be dreaming. Then realising that even for him that was a tad arrogant, his government dispatched Mr Joyce’s mini-me, Simon Bridges, off around the country writing cheques they know will never be cashed by this government.
And of that $100bn cost Mr Joyce failed to mention how much will be hoovered up by the regulations his government and their political Klingons have imposed.
Like the vassal who preaches one thing but votes as he is told. Then there’s the other one-man band who says forget the Manawatu Gorge because he wants a $3bn tunnel in Wellington after the Ngauranga Gorge was closed for a few hours.
National is panting itself as a party of stability. Really? Well here we go Pansy Wong, Richard Worth, Kate Wilkinson, Phil Heatley, Claudette Hauiti, Aaron Gilmore, Todd Barclay and a host of other dropouts, married up with two puppet parties and a Maori Party hell-bent on revising the apartheid of South Africa in our country. Demanding separatist polices for everything from justice, to education, to social welfare, and even in our prisons.
Distinguishing Debt – Productive or Consumptive
The sad fact is we’ve abandoned sound economic thinking when large sums of money relate to public works.
New Zealand’s longest tunnel runs 8.9 kilometres through the Kaimai Ranges and was opened in 1978. At the time, the old Ministry of Works was castigated for the cost - $57.11m, or $363m in today’s money. Fast forward to 2012 and NZTA had costed a 5.38 kilometre tunnel through the Manawatu Gorge at $1.8bn – about one-third less distance but almost five times the cost.
Auckland’s Waterview tunnel is 2.24 kilometres and cost $1.4bn while the Auckland rail tunnel is nudging $3.4bn, $1m a metre with the serious tunnelling yet to begin. Taxpayers, including those who’ll never use it, are sharing the cost 50:50 with Auckland’s ratepayers, most of whom will never use it.
The real issue is why are we just accepting any cost by tender? When our past history, before this economic experiment, shows costs to have been so much less at a time when our wages, comparatively, were so much more.
There is a better way and in the coming weeks of this election campaign we will reveal it.
Mr Fixit as he loves to be called, for reasons I have no idea why, boasts about the government’s debt management – that ‘Net Crown Debt’ is falling.
You know that much of that debt is being pushed off the government’s balance sheet and onto, if you haven’t guessed it, your balance sheet right along with the balance sheets of state-owned companies and Crown companies, just like the one for Auckland Mr Joyce has just rebranded and where the debt is going to be carried by ACC and you.
Debt and Economic Instability
We are living at a time when economies here and internationally are seriously fragile and with our major trading partner, Australia, in particular. There is going to be a correction any day soon and yet no steps are being made to prepare ratepayers or taxpayers for the looming crisis when issues of productive versus consumptive debt will be critical
Spreading Your Financial Net – share of GST from Tourism
As New Zealand First announced in Palmerston North several weeks ago, GST from international tourism will be returned to the region it was generated in.
Electronic financial processing can handle that. We are talking what could be at least $1.5bn from foreign tourists this year.
Royalties for Water Exports
There will be a new royalty, not a token royalty on water exports, with 25% of any Royalty coming back to the region that water came from and the relevant local authorities will be asked to manage the disbursement.
Royalties for the Regions
Furthermore, 25% of Royalties from Crown Minerals will also come back to the region they are extracted from.
So GST from International visitors as well as a quarter of bottled water royalties and a quarter of Crown Mineral royalties that will go back to the regions to help you meet the needs of your communities.
Political Separatism – the Pathway to Purgatory
In a long career no one, and no Maori, has ever said to me, ‘Winston, we’re too united and we need racial disharmony.’ Not one.
Yet in local government as in central government there has been a pandering to division, separatism, parallel representation and parallel laws without any regard to the hugely destructive consequences. Much of which is in front of us now.
This process has been pushed by a small handful of Maori elitists and cultural fellow travellers with no regard to what the mass majority of Maori really want. After three decades of this elitist clamorous demand, much of Maoridom is in crisis.
After decades of growing separatism in politics look at every single social indicator and levels of home ownership and the picture is getting worse for most Māori, as it is for working people in general.
Those at the top are getting richer - those at the bottom poorer. So what has been the policy response? It is to reinforce failure by indulging Big Corporate Iwi yet further.
Local Government Needs a Wakeup Call and Now
On 10 May 2017, the Prime Minister, along with Ministers Smith, Flavell and Bridges all went to Te Puni Kokiri in Wellington, to meet with the Waikato Regional Council’s Chair plus representatives of Tainui, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa & Maniopoto.
Outside of that group no one knew anything about this meeting and it’s no wonder.
What was on the table was water allocation and water ownership showing that Deeds of Settlement aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. According to the relevant Iwi at this meeting, who owns the Waikato and Waipa Rivers was never resolved.
That’ll be news to a great many New Zealanders because what this says is that we have not and will never get ‘full and final settlement.’
National wants water resource rentals because in the minutes, National concedes if it:
“…creates or disposes of any property right or interest in the Waikato River or creates a statutory or other process to create or dispose of any property right then the relevant River Iwi must be engaged directly in the first instance”.
National is creating legal minefields within the deeds it is signing.
We are outing National’s cynical agenda because New Zealanders are being taken for a ride and it’s all there in the recent Tuwharetoa Deed of Settlement:
“One of the wider aspirations of Ngati Tuwharetoa is for the Crown to recognise and provide for those rights and interests. This includes provision being made for the interests of Ngati Tuwharetoa in any future policy reform in relation to water and geothermal resources, including the introduction of economic interests such as a market-based regime for resource allocation”.
Last January at the Orewa Rotary Club, we warned that National was caving into the Māori Party's "brownmail".
Dr Smith, who has a twin doctorate in slips and slip-ups, accused us of scare mongering but then put "Mana Whakahono a Rohe: Iwi Participation Arrangements" into the RMA.
These Mana Whakahono a Rohe arrangements mean an unelected "bro-rocracy" get a say on not only district and regional plans, but consents and compliance too.
But that and non-elected Iwi appointees were only the entrée.
The Tuwharetoa settlement legislation establishes a new statutory body, called Te Kopua Kanapanapa. This is a brand new tier of local government, which will be legislated for as a committee straddling Waikato Regional Council and Taupo District Council.
This Is About Not “Local Government” but “Bro-cal Government”
Its Iwi members will be appointed for as long as Iwi wants them there, with the Deed of Settlement promising it will be a permanent committee and thus, will not be discharged following each triennial election.
Its powers are whatever it determines them to be with the Deed’s wording containing big enough holes to drive a Mac Truck through. This, a superintending council within councils, with discretion to determine how, and to what extent, it exercises Kaitiaki over the entire Taupo catchment.
What domain will be next, air. Perhaps, unless we end this divisive madness in September.
And Everyone Has a Price, Including It Seems, Iwi and Local Government
New Zealand First challenges South Waikato Iwi to deny they’ve been promised huge wads of cash from the Chinese-backers of NZ Pure Blue.
So much so it has apparently swayed them over plans to extract up to 2.5 billion litres of water per-year from Putaruru’s iconic Blue Springs. We challenge Raukawa to deny it is in line for six-figure ‘Koha’ each year from NZ Pure Blue. So what is South Waikato District Council getting?
It has gone as silent as a church mouse? It was thought the council was concerned about the bona fides of this Chinese-owned company, the lack of environmental analysis and because it sucked up the Waihou River’s remaining allocation.
And New Zealand First challenges Messrs English, Smith and Joyce to look New Zealanders in the eye and tell them that this is not tantamount to royalties being paid under the table.
How come the full force of the RMA was thrown at the Ruataniwha Dam, but when it comes to the iconic Blue Springs in Waikato, 6.9 million litres a day, 2.5bn litres a year, can be taken for the payment of a pathetically small fee and huge ‘Koha for Consents?’
Or is it under National that Chinese chequebooks represent 21st Century taonga?
It is clear we won’t move forward unless there is meaningful reform of the RMA because we agree with you, it does need work. Yet this starts by repealing the race-based clauses that have been bolted onto it.