Monday, September 10, 2007

Local Body Politics

At the last local body elections, a friend of mine was running for mayor. This meant that I went to some meet the candidates meetings. Local body meet the candidate forums are a surreal experience. I remember driving up to a church hall where there were about as many members of the public as there were candidates. After each person had made their statement the first question went something like this: "The district plan was released last night and I stayed up all night reading it all, and the proposal, on page 294, for water run-off is completely inadequate...."

It's a strange person who runs for local body office, and an even stranger person who cares desperately about the results. So I'm not promising full coverage of the Wellington local government election. I haven't even decided if I can be bothered voting to mayor. I am planning to vote for councillor and for health board. Although I will endorse Jim Delahunty as my #1 choice for health board, here and now.

But there was an important piece of information in the newspaper the other day which I thought should be shared. The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has said that the only candidates that would be business friendly are Kerry Prendergast, Rob Goulden, Ray Ahipene-Mercer and John McGrath. Apparently the Wellington Chamber of Commerce would have problems working with any other candidates. If you were thinking of voting for mayor that cuts four candidates right out off the top.


  1. Anonymous10:35 pm

    See Ray Ahipene-Mercer's campaign speech on he says he supports business for growth and jobs, but opposes speculators who want to make a quick buck out of the city. He describes these people as being motivated by fear and greed. His profile describes his working class background. Ray, if elected, would be the capital's first Maori Mayor, and the first elected from a community activist background. It is worth voting, and it is worth voting for Ray.

  2. What a pity Robert. Please tell us,- because Ray certainly can't -
    the difference between 'business practise' and 'speculation'.

    I suggest you may have a problem doing so.

    By definition, anyone in business is a speculator. They buy things at a cheaper price and hawk them at adearer price, thus making a profit. 'Speculation'...yes?

    You quote the sort of 'double-speak' in which Councillor Mercer is all too well versed.

    The great pity is, you have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    Try voting for someone who has and has shown some integrity during the past 3 years and not be swayed by the little Blue Penguin fancier of Breaker Bay.

  3. Anonymous8:43 pm

    Ray Ahipene-Mercer is the outstanding candidate for Mayor of Wellington. I'm clear on what he means about speculators, and I think anyone who uses words in a standard way would be clear also. Social democrats, which is what I take Ray to be, have always made this distinction. Ray's website is very specific and clear about his policies. there is no "double-speak". And what is wrong with little blue penguins?

  4. Yes... do tell...what is a 'standard way' of using words?

    To believe all you read - especially the propaganda espoused on his website - is gullible in the extreme.
    Look for firm policies on Ray's website. There aren't any!

    Here is a guy who claims to be 'Clean & Green' while owning at least 2 cars. He has even driven a Porsche sports car so fast and dangerously, he left the road, depositing the car in a creek!
    He has the cheek to wax lyrical about his working class background, yet hob-nobs with Wellington's glitteraty, never missing a photo oportunity.
    Very much like Ms. Prendergast.

    By the way Robert... you still haven't said what the difference is between 'speculaton' and 'business practise'.

    Wake up man! Look at the Council's District Plan and see for yourself.
    Ray & Kerry along with Shaw & the other right-wingers will see Wellington's Ratepayers some $400 million in debt inside 210 years!

    Rather than relying on the warm fuzzies hugging a Penguin gives you, cast your eyes further than next week. Do some research.

  5. oops...that should read '10 years'.
    God knows what the debt would be after 210!!!

  6. Anonymous9:26 pm

    Ok then. First of all I don't know why you (Peter) keep going on about "business practise". Who said this, and where?. Second of all, a "standard" use of language is one in which words are given their usual meaning as accepted by the overwhelming majority of speakers of a language, and not subject to arbitrary re-definition by people who like to make up meanings to suit their arguments. Thirdly it is simply absurd to say there are no firm policies on Ray's website. there are - such as re-introducing all locally-extinct plant species, establishing research fellowships in Wellington studies, providing reports to public transport users of the efficiency or otherwise of services, televising council meetings, putting more staff on the street to help prevent crime - and so on. Fourthly, since when did the left get so concerned with debt by councils? 4% of assets when you are working on multi-generational projects makes sense. Incidentally, I can't find anywhere in his site that Ray claims to be personally "clean and green". He has planted, personally, literally thousands of trees and I would have thought that the restoration of old cars counts as conservation - it certainly does when people do it to houses.! I'm still waiting to find out why you have such contempt for Ray's efforts to help penguins.

  7. You still haven't answered the question... you should run with Ray for Council!
    I refer to busisness practise because your opening comment went on about speculators and how bad they are, how Ray will see them off etc.
    I'm not re-defining anything.
    Not even the word 'gullible'.

    Why is the'left' concerened about debt?
    Quite simply Robert, it's debt which has to be paid for by the ratepayer! Where do you think any Council gets it's money?
    A tree?
    Perhaps you are so well-off you won't mind your rates sky-rocketing when Ray also turns a blind-eye to changing the differential in favour of big business.

    None of the so-called 'policies' you quote have ANY benefit to the running of a council, or providing solid infrastructure.

    The 'assets' you refer to include Council Housing. These are not assets, as they can't be realised.
    If they were to be sold, where would the undrpriviledged occupants squat?
    How about Ray's place!! After-all...he's all-things-to-all-people isn't he Robert?
    Oh! My heart is sent racing at the prospect of televised Council meetings!! More money wasted on non-essential nonsense, as are 'reports' which are never actioned but soak up ratepayer dollars while lining consultant's pockets.

    What planet are you on mate?

    By the way, restoration of old cars counts as an indulgent hobby!

  8. Anonymous10:44 pm

    Hmmm ... why the anger? why the sarcasm? why the aggression? Ray has put forward a moderate programme which, if implemented, would significantly improve the lives of people in Wellington. You are entirely free to disagree. But why the need to suggest improper motives, and tell untruths about simple things like whether Ray has specific policies (whether you agree with him or not. Incidentally, Council gets money from many sources other than rates - fees, rent, interest etc. i believe it may even get a little from trees, when selling nursey-grown plants to other local authorities etc. You still haven't said what is wrong with Ray's work to save one of our native species, the korora.

  9. Believe me, I'm not angry. Disappointed maybe, someone perhaps, with a modicum of intelligence sould be so blind.
    Try reading 'The King's New Clothes' sometime.
    Ray's 'policies' have very little, if any, substance.
    My point is, you are endorsing a candidate so 'moderate',as you put it, he has no real policies to offer.
    The 'interest' you claim is an income for Council implies they enjoy a surplus over the interest paid on loans. This amounts to very little and soon will be nothing, running to deficit.
    Ray Ahipene Mercer has supported bad fiscal policy during his term as a Councillor. Is that what you want for the future?

    As for his work to save the Penguin, why does he have to turn it into a photo opportunity?
    The real philanthropists in society do so quietly, without courting the spotlight.

    As for the rest, simply, it's called 'passion'. A desire to see some real action from people who aren't so shallow as to hide behind meaningless phrases which will inevitably allow them to make 180 degree turns at will.

  10. Anonymous9:13 pm

    I guess that deals with the anger, through you could have fooled me. What about the sarcasm and aggression? There are a number of council candidates who take a pro-environment and pro-people stand while still working to build a consensus around the best possible approach achievable. What is wrong with that? As Ray's website says, Wellington will always return a diverse council - the point is that we need someone to bring them together and lead them. Incidentally, I'm not sure philanthropist is the best word for someone who loves penguins. But I'm glad you have conceded that there's nothing wrong with working to save them. As for the photo opportunity - sensible environmentalists try to gather support. media is one of the best ways.

  11. Again, try reading 'The King's New Clothes'. Fooling you has'nt been a problem, hence your endorsing Ahipene Mercer.
    My point about your lack of independent research still stands.
    Until you have, you are mis-informed at best.
    As for the definition of philanthropy, I refer you to an Oxford Dictionary - any one will do. Although, on second thoughts, the definition supplied as "Inclination to do or practice of doing good to one's fellow men" probably doesn't apply after-all, unless it includes "while benefiting oneself".

    ..tell me Robert...have you sorted out the difference between 'business' and 'speculation' yet?

  12. Anonymous4:28 pm

    Ray Ahipene-Mercer would make a good mayor. His election would make the first time a community activist had succeeded in becoming mayor. He would be the first Maori mayor of Wellington, and I think of any other major New Zealand city. It is interesting that you (Peter) deride and ridicule him for his conservation efforts in the same way that conservatives once derided "tree huggers". The fact is that he has absolutely outstanding credentials as an environmentalist committed to species and habitat conservation. He does not confuse environmentalism with aesthetics. Incidentally - the reason I questioned philanthropist in the context in which you used it Peter was that you were referring to the love not of "fellow man" (sic) but penguins. Oh, and it's the emperor's new clothes.

  13. ..still no difference between business & speculation...
    What rubbish an 'activist' has never been Mayor!
    Before the rot set in, Fran Wilde was dubbed an activist. Wrong again, eh Robert...

    Emperor...King...what the hell..!

    What makes a Maori a better civic leader Robert?
    It has nothing to do with ethnic background but YOU decided to play the Race Card.
    Your 'Pathetically Correct' viewpoint rates right up there with Walter Mitty.

    What a pity. You have proven yourself an unworthy debater by grasping at straws, not sticking to the point and wandering off into car restoration, Maoris, no independent research, Botanical rubbish and trying (poorly) to hide behind symantics.

    Have you EVER truthfully answered a question? I doubt it.
    If you're the calibre of Mercer's supporters, every other candidate is safe.
    Go hug a communal Fish / Tree / piece of seaweed or whatever.

    Whatever you do, try growing some balls.

  14. Anonymous10:46 am

    I'm sorry to have upset you Peter. I hope things turn out OK for you.