GFC far from over

September 6, 2012

It hasn’t been a week for good news in provincial New Zealand.

Solid Energy has suspended workers at its Spring Creek mine on the West Coast, threatening the jobs of 250 staff and 130 contractors which will have a flow on impacts on the wider community.

Then New Zealand Aluminium Smelters announced it’s accelerating plans to axe 100 jobs from its Bluff smelter as depressed global metal prices continue to challenge the aluminium sector worldwide.

And yesterday tests confirmed that the kiwifruit vine killing disease Psa has been found in a Coromandel orchard.

It’s only a single orchard but the ease with which the disease spreads will be causing justifiable concern in the area and the industry.

The disease has devastated orchards further north and that in turn has hit packing houses, job opportunities and the wider community.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is making good progress in implementing the recommendations of the recent independent review of imports of kiwifruit plant material.

This will go a long way to ensuring a similar incursion doesn’t happen again.

But that will be of little if any comfort to the people whose jobs, livelihoods, businesses and retirement plans have been affected so badly by the disease.

All in all provincial New Zealand could be excused for feeling a bit gloomy and it’s all due to circumstances beyond local control. The GFC is not over and won’t be for some time.

Thank goodness the milk price increased in yesterday’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

The country – in both the rural and national senses of the word – really needs something to give us some optimism.


MPs per sq km

December 10, 2008

 One person one vote is a core principle of democracy and from that comes the requirement for electorates to have a similar population.

The quotas for current boundaries  are:

North Island general electorates: 57,243 +/- 2,862

South Island general electorates: 57,562 +/- 2,878

Maori electorates:                             59,583 +/1 2,979

The result of this is a huge variation in the area a MP represents – from Rodney Hide in Epsom who covers just 23 square kilometres to Bill English in Clutha Southland, the largest general electorate which is 38,247 square kilometres in area and Rahui Katene in Te Tai Tonga which covers 161,443 sqaure kilometres.

MMP adds to the dispropotion of MPs per square kilometre because list MPs serve parties not electorates and most of them are in the North Island and in cities.

MMP encourages parties to work where the votes are and there are more votes in the North Island and cities than in the provinces and South Island. The result is that the provincial and southern voices aren’t being heard so strongly and that has been exagerated by the bluewash of the provinces in last month’s election because there are very few opposition MPs outside the four main cities.

I’m not suggesting a change to one person, one vote. But when considering if MMP if is retained or not some thought needs to be given to how big electorates can be to ensure MPs are reasonably accessible to their constituents and that they can effecitvely cover the area they are supposed to serve.

A small concession to the difficulty of servicing the larger electorates has been made in the agreement between National and the Maori Party which gives all Maori MPs and those in general electorates  larger than 20,000 square kilometres an extra staff member.

However, they don’t get any extra funds for associated costs and while Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau which is 730 square kilometres in area gets an extra member of staff, 23 general electorates which are bigger than that but smaller than 20,000 don’t.

Similarly Nania Mahuta in Hauraki Waikato which covers 12,580 square kilometres gets an extra staff member but Shane Adern in Taranaki King Country (12,869 sq kms) and Anne Tolley in East Coast (13,649) don’t.

The table below (from the parliamentary library) shows the areas electorates cover, colour coded for the party of the MP representing them.

Name

Area sq.km

Te Tai Tonga

161,443

Clutha-Southland

38,247

West Coast-Tasman

38,042

Te Tai Hauauru

35,825

Waitaki

34,888

Ikaroa-Rawhiti

30,952

Kaikoura

23,706

Waiariki

19,212

Te Tai Tokerau

16,370

East Coast

13,649

Taranaki-King Country

12,869

Hauraki-Waikato

12,580

Northland

12,255

Rangitikei

12,189

Wairarapa

11,922

Taupo

9,101

Selwyn

7,854

Napier

6,866

Rangitata

6,826

Whanganui

5,948

Invercargill

5,617

Rotorua

5,535

Waikato

4,947

Coromandel

4,653

Tukituki

4,277

Dunedin South

2,702

Waimakariri

1,757

Otaki

1,728

Whangarei

1,628

Hunua

1,266

Bay of Plenty

1,188

Rodney

1,051

Helensville

865

Tamaki Makaurau

730

Dunedin North

642

New Plymouth

579

Nelson

565

Rimutaka

518

Auckland Central

499

Mana

321

Hutt South

311

Papakura

255

Waitakere

254

Mangere

155

Hamilton West

148

Wellington Central

146

Ohariu

130

Port Hills

115

New Lynn

97

Tauranga

89

Christchurch East

78

Palmerston North

46

Wigram

40

East Coast Bays

37

Hamilton East

37

Manurewa

37

Maungakiekie

37

Botany

36

Tamaki

36

Mt Albert

34

Manukau East

31

Pakuranga

29

Christchurch Central

28

Ilam

27

Northcote

27

Rongotai

27

Te Atatu

27

North Shore

25

Mt Roskill

24

Epsom

23

 


Pink elephant goes walk about

October 30, 2008

The roadside at Chatto Creek, east of Alexandra, is enhanced by an array of creative mailboxes including tractors and snails.

One of them, a pink elephant called Simba, went walk about last Saturday night and hasn’t been seen since.

supplied.

Simba’s owner, Stephen Price, said this is not the first time the elephant has been AWOL, he undertook a brief educational safari to the Unviersity of Otago campus in Dunedin about eight months ago.

Bill’s patch

October 17, 2008

An ODT look around the Clutha Southland electorate found that Bill English has worked hard for his constituents and that’s reflected in their support for him.

The reporter expressed surprise that no-one spoken to could name any other candidate but that doesn’t suprise me.

The size of the electorate and the constraints of the Electoral Finance Act make it very difficult for candidates to raise their profiles, but on top of that no-one else is really trying to win the seat.


$1m in a day

October 9, 2008

Southland’s new bank, Invercargill-based SBS, received more than $1m in new investments after only 24 hours of trading, chief executive Ross Smith said.

We have had numerous people come in … some branches, where an additional $1 million has been invested. We are seeing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars being invested,” he said.

He believed the key to people’s confidence was SBS’ 139-year history, combined with a loss of confidence in other banks, which were foundering in an unstable international economic market.

The Southland Times applauds the Southland Building Society gaining bank status and notes:

It is inevitable that on the day SBS took delivery of its bank registration, some of the key players in the 1991 campaign that blocked a proposed sale of the society to Westpac bathed once again in the wisdom of that decision.

Those who spearheaded that campaign can indeed take much credit for resisting the fearfulness of the time. That decision stands as a reminder that conservatism can at times be the braver, wiser, and more adventurous course.


Rolls down, schools to close?

October 5, 2008

The wholesale closure of rural and provincial schools by then Education Minister Trevor Mallard was a major contributer to the Labour losing so much support in the provinces at the 2005 election.

By then the government had put a moratorium on school closures, but it was too late. Children were having to travel much further to school, classrooms were overcrowded, communities which lost schools also lost their focus and those affected made their feelings clear at the ballot box.

Because of that the ODT headline Southern school rolls to plummet  will have been greeted with no enthusiasm at all by the government.

The story which follows shows Ministry of Education roll projections based on birth numbers from Statistics New Zealand:

. . . the number of 3 to 4 year-olds will decline in the Waitaki (-0.4%), Dunedin (-2%), Southland (-2.7%), Clutha (-5%) and Gore (-8.8%) territorial authorities between June this year and 2011 . . . 

The drops contrast with a predicted nationwide rise of 9.4% in the number of pre-schoolers.

A decline in pupil numbers of up to 8.8% will impact on schools. However, this time the suggestion that some might have to close isn’t coming from politicians or bureaucrats:

New Zealand Principals Federation president and Balclutha School principal Paddy Ford said Otago and Southland schools needed to take heed of the figures.

“They might need to look at amalgamation. It doesn’t go down well with schools to say this, but we do have to look at ways of providing the best education we can deliver.”

Talk of school closures usually produces more heat than light and it is often those who no longer have pre-school or school age children who protest most strongly. Those whose offspring are at or nearly at school tend to look at what’s best for the children and sometimes that means school closures and amalgamations.

Schools can reach a tipping point because when the roll drops so does the number of teachers. Parents then decide their chidlren are better off at a bigger school even if it means longer on a bus to get there and the roll drops further until the school is no longer viable.

The concern in rural areas though is that roll projections based on birth numbers don’t necessarily reflect the reality, especially if there is a lot of dairying which has a big change in staff at the end of one season and start of another.

Some schools have more than a 30% change in their rolls over Gpysy weekend at the end of May and a few families moving in or out of a school catchment can have a big impact on pupil numbers.

While schools can provide a focus for a community that’s not a reason to keep a school open if a roll decline means its no longer meeting the educational needs of its pupils. The difficulty is that the Ministry has to work on historical figures and projections which don’t always paint the whole picture.

However, if the projections are accurate, Paddy Ford says declining rolls wouldn’t be all bad news because there is a shortage of teachers.

And while the projections for some southern districts are for falling rolls, huge increases are forecast for the Queenstown Lakes (29.7%), Central Otago (14.2%) and Invercargill (11.4%) areas.


Cromwell winery in receivership

October 2, 2008

Central Otago Vintners  winery has gone into receivership after just two years.

Cromwell has been booming with the spin off from the development of vinyards and wineries and new housing on the shores of Lake Dunstan.

But it’s still a smallish community and a receivership like this will be a concern not just on the winery staff but its creditors and their employees too.


Sales and prices down

September 25, 2008

A real estate agent tells me that property sales in Wanaka are down around 65%.

The average sales were about 30 properties a month but they haven’t got to double figures for months.

Prices have fallen about 15%.

Another agent tells me Wanaka real estate is booming and opportunities abound.

I think the pessimist is more likely to be right.


Ski field for sale

September 23, 2008

The Southland Times reports the Cardrona Snow Farm and Park  are up for sale.

Developer John Lee said there were two reasons for selling: “I’m 72 — close to 73 — that’s No 1. No 2, we got consent for the gondola in early May and it’s bigger than us.” The planed $17 million gondola, the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, would take skiers and snowboarders from the valley up to the two resorts, a distance of 3880m.

The project was too big and too expensive to undertake without outside investors, he said.

John and Mary Lee have made a wonderful contribution to the Cardrona Valley, Wanaka and the wider community. You can read a copy of an ODT feature on John here.


Our companies must meet our standards

September 16, 2008

The contamination of infant milk powder  in China is being blamed on sabotage of the raw milk before it reached the company.

The milk powder is produced by Sanlu a company in which Fonterra has a 43% stake.

The New Zealand dairy giant said someone put the banned chemical melamine into raw milk supplied to Sanlu. The possibility of contamination during the production, storage and sales process has been excluded. Melamine can boost the apparent protein content in some standard tests on food.

I don’t know if it is realistic to expect companies to screen milk for this sort of contamination before they use it but I do wonder if Fonterra could have done more once the contamination was discovered.

Fonterra said it would have preferred a public recall of milk powder that killed two babies in China earlier but its joint venture partner Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co Ltd had to abide by Chinese rules.

Those rules wouldn’t apply in New Zealand and if media here had been alerted the news would have soon spread to China.

No-one would have anticipated sabotage but Philippa Stephenson says the debacle wasn’t unexpected.

Fonterra’s sickening infant milk powder, brand blowing disaster in its part-owned Chinese company Sanlu was predictable.

China’s explosive dairy growth had brought major problems with milk quality and exposed a crippling lack of managerial expertise, US Trade representative Todd Meyer told a Christchurch conference only late last year.

Farm dairy hygiene is appalling, bacteria levels in milk are high and antibiotic use so great that yoghurt can’t be made from the milk, the conference heard.

In December, Dig ‘n’ Stir asked whether Fonterra was smart enough to ignore the lure of China, a country littered with the corpses of Western companies that thought they could make a killing in the world’s most populace nation.

The phrase, meant figuratively not literally, has come chillingly true.

There are opportunities for New Zealand companies in China and other countries but these come with real risks if foreign ventures can’t meet New Zealand standards.

PGG Wrightson has a made a big investment in dairying in Uruguay; both Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group are talking about sourcing lamb from South America. They must be very, very careful that anything associated with their brands and New Zealand’s reputation measure up to everything that would be required if they were produced here.

We are world leaders in food standards, animal welfare and environmental protection but taking our expertise and money to other countries doesn’t guarantee they’ll do things the way we do nor do them to our requirements.

It’s not easy working in other countries with foreign languages and different cultures and what works here may not work there. But that is not an excuse to accept lower standards, especially when it comes to safety.


$owthland?

September 15, 2008

Chicane’s cartoon  is referring to the news that a reserach company has gained resource constent to build a $2.5 million piggery  at Awarua.

It will house what will be a growing herd of genetically pure, disease-free Auckland Island pigs the company, Living Cell Technologies, already has in Southland. The pigs will be used in ground-breaking diabetes treatments.

Professor Bob Elliot said there were millions of diabetics worldwide, which potentially meant the pig cell transfer industry could be a huge earner for Southland.

“You’re talking about something that will make the dairying industry look like play money,” Professor Elliot said.

Sounds like good news for health and the Southland economy.


Girls on tour

August 23, 2008

Our first annual expedition three years ago took us to Prebbleton where we spent the day making garden sculptures.

When fine motor skills were distributed I was somewhere else so I’d approached the activity with some trepedation. However, by day’s end I was the proud owner of a pig which did indeed look like a pig and is now at home in my garden.

We headed north again last year and spent the day at Jo Seagar’s cooking school  at Oxford.

Jo welcomed us and explained the day’s agenda over coffee and loaf then we spent the next few hours gathered round her huge kitchen bench as she chatted and joked her way through the cooking demonstration.

When the cooking was done we were seated at the large dining table to enjoy the food, accompanied by wine and more conversation.

Jo mentioned the first year’s income for the business had been well ahead of budget and it was easy to see why because during her demonstration she’d mentioned how good this tool or that utensil was so of course we all purchased at least some of them before we left. Remembering this over diner last night, we agreeed Jo was right and we’d all found the things we bought were welcome additions to our kitchens.

This year’s expedition has taken us to Southland. We arrived in time for lunch at Woodstock Loft yesterday – tomato soup followed by parmeson loaf topped with lettuce and smoked salmon. One of our hostesses is a director of Venture Southland  and was keen to ensure we contributed to the local economy so the afternoon was devoted to retail therapy in Invercargill before dinner at El Tigre.

We enjoyed the dinner but diners at a neighbouring table didn’t enjoy our company – they told the waitress we were too noisy and walked out. We were a little discombobulated by this but the waitress reassured us that they had been difficult from the time they entered and it was them at fault not us.

Today’s itinerary includes a garden walk, floral art and no doubt we’ll have time for food, wine and conversation. We’ll do our best to keep the latter to a level which doesn’t upset any fellow diners.


Christ’s life to be filmed on Benmore

August 21, 2008

The battle scene in Chronicles of Narnia took place at Elephant Rocks, near Duntroon. Now a Sea of Galilee fishing village will be built further up the Waitaki Valley on the shores of Lake Benmore for a film about the life of Jesus Christ.

Filming of the independent film Kingdom Come, which will employ up to 400 people, is scheduled to begin about the middle of February. Construction of the set is expected to start shortly at the Falstone camping reserve on the lake’s Haldon Arm.

The Falstone area and Lake Benmore were chosen by Wellington-based film company, South Vineyard Ltd, after an extensive search throughout New Zealand for a lake environment that best depicted a location on the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

The Narnia filming brought a lot of money in to North Otago.

The propsect of accommodating, feeding and providing other services to 400 people for a couple of months will be welcomed by local businesses. If the Narnia experience can be relied on, there will be a further boost from increased tourism once the film is released.


Lonely Planet likes Otago

August 19, 2008

Lonely Planet’s newest guide to New Zealand is generally enthusiastic about Otago.

Dunedin’s live music and cafe and restaurant scene were given a significant plug and the Otago Peninsula was said to be “rich” with wildlife and outdoor activities.

The University of Otago was given recognition for the energy it provided the city.

“The country’s oldest university provides an energy that might otherwise be missing and drives a thriving theatre, live-music – and it must be said – drinking scene.”

Indeed, not all education takes place in the lecture theatres.

Otago was said to be unhurried and “rife with picturesque scenery” with few crowds to share it with, although Queenstown was called an area with a cinematic background of mountains and a “what can we think of next” array of activities.

As it is.

What they said about Otago

Alexandra: “Unless you’ve come to Alexandra especially for September’s NZ Merino Shearing Championships or the Easter Bunny Hunt, the reason to visit this rather nondescript service hub is for the nearby mountain biking.”

Arrowtown: “Beloved by day-trippers from Queenstown . . . The only gold being flaunted these days is on credit cards and surrounded by a bonanza of daytime tourists, you might grow wary of the quaint historical ambience.”

Balclutha: ” . . . South Otago’s largest town but is of little interest to travellers other than a place to stock up on supplies before heading off into the Catlins.”

Clyde: “. . . looks more like a cute 19th-century gold rush film set than a real town . . . retains a friendly small-town feel . . . and it’s a great place to chill out for a couple of days.”

Cromwell: “There’s plenty of good reasons to visit Cromwell: the sweet little historic precinct . . . and to eat (and eat, and eat) . . . Oh, and a third reason – to take a photo of yourself beside the spectacularly ugly giant fruit salad at the entrance to town.”

Dunedin: ” . . . captures the hearts of locals and travellers alike. It’s a surprisingly artsy town, and has more great bars and eateries than its small size deserves.”

” . . . has attractions both urban and rural . . . party down in the South Island’s coolest city, and get up close and personal with the island’s most accessible wildlife.”

Glenorchy: “Set in achingly beautiful surroundings, postage-stamp-sized Glenorchy is the perfect low-key antidote to the hype and bustle of Queenstown.”

 

Lawrence: ” . . . a sweet little town in a valley surrounded by farmland and forestry plantations. For most travellers its not much more than a place to stop for lunch.”

 

 Naseby: “Cute as a button . . . little old Naseby is the kind of town where life moves slowly. That the town is pleasantly obsessed with the fairly insignificant world of NZ curling indicates there’s not much else going on.”

Oamaru: “Nothing moves very fast in Oamaru: tourists saunter, locals languish and penguins waddle”.

“. . .eccentric gems such as the South Island’s yummiest cheese factory, cool galleries and a peculiar live music venue are other distractions.”

Yes, Whitestone Cheese is yummy; the Penguin Club is a gem; and lets not forget our artists, and while Victoriana isn’t old by world standards, the historic precinct gets better every year – newest attraction is the Whysky Bar.  Outside town there’s the Vanished World Trail  and Elephant Rocks where Chronicles of Narnia was filmed and Riverstone Kitchen.

Omarama: “surrounded by mountain ranges, the Omarama area is at the centre of fabulous landscapes.”

Queenstown: “The town wears its ‘Global Adventure Capital’ badge proudly, and most visitors take time to do crazy things they have never done before. But a new Queenstown is also emerging,
with a cosmopolitan restaurant and arts scene and excellent vineyards.”

 

Ranfurly: “Ranfurly is trying hard to cash in on its Art Deco buildings but while there are a few attractive buildings, the town itself is fairly bleak.”

But it is on the Central Otago Rail Trail.

Wanaka: “Beautiful scenery, tramping and skiing opportunities, and an expanding roster of adrenaline-inducing activities have transformed the lakeside town of Wanaka into a year-round tourist destination.”

Call me biased and parochial if you will, but the guide has not overstated the delights of New Zealand’s most beautiful province 🙂


West Coast Trust dysfunctional

August 8, 2008

The Auditor Gerneral has called on trustees of the West Coast Development Trust to sort out their problems or stand down.

He says the Trust which was set up to administer $92 million given to the Coast to compensate for the ban on logging native forests, is so dysfunctional and divided that it can’t be trusted to do its job.

The auditor-general’s report released today paints a picture of trustees infighting with allegations of corruption being thrown around and counter-allegations of leaking confidential information.

The auditor-general said the situation was so serious that trustees should sort it out immediately or just stand down.

“Unlike other public entities with elected board, there is no other ready mechanism for resolving this level of dysfunction,” the report said.

“Until we see evidence that the group of trustees is able to take effective collective responsibility for the governance of the trust, we are unable to provide assurance that the trust is able to deliver fully on its purpose of generating sustainable employment opportunities and economic benefits for the people of the West Coast.”

A trust fund is a poor substitute for business and I suspect the logging ban may also have had negative environmental consequences.

The ban was a dog whistle political appeal to mainly urban, liberal, green (and Green) voters but I wonder if it was a not-in-my-back-yard approach to conservation which protects our forests but does more damage to others. The ban stopped the sustainable logging of native trees on the Coast, and the pest control which went with it. But has it also resulted in the increase of imported timber from clear-felled rain forests?


Kurow to celebrate birth of social security

August 1, 2008

Kurow is preparing to celebrate the birth of social security which began in the town in the 1930s.

The 1938 Social Security Act developed from the medical benefits scheme for depression workers on the Waitaki hydro dam project at Kurow a few years earlier.

The act was developed by the local minister, Reverend Arnold Nordmeyer, headmaster Andrew Davidson and Dr David McMillan assited by a committee of locals. The success of the scheme convinced Nordmeyer and McMillan to stand with the new Labour leader, Michael Joseph Savage and became part of New Zealand’s first Labour Government.

Celebrations On Augsut 12 will include the launch of Nordy – Arnold Nordmeyer – A political Biography, by Mary Logan; and the official opening of the first stage of the National Museum of Social Security; the 1938 themed visitor information centre at the town’s museum; the Social Security Heritage Trail and the visitor information booklet Birth of Social Security – How It All Began.


Paua project waits five years for funds

July 30, 2008

An East Coast paua hatchery was forced to wait five years for a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sustainable Farming Fund.

The SFF approved the $230,500 grant in 2002 but the money wasn’t paid over until November last year.

National’s agriculture spokesman David Carter  attributes the delay to “bureaucratic ineptness”.

The grant was for the development of a commercially viable paua production system. The project was to study yellow-foot and virgin paua so seed stock production methods could be developed; to develop a selective breeding system across these two species and common paua to provide superior stock; and to test and develop a recirculating sea water system.

The applicant, Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa, wrote to MAF, MAF’s director general, the Minsiter of Maori Affairs and Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton seeking answers.

Carter has obtained an internal memo  which states:

” ‘all failings – and there has [sic]been many of them – were at MAF’s end’ and that it was ‘extremely embarrassing’ for MAF.”

The Minister should also be embarrassed but as Phillipa Stevenson points out at Dig ‘n’ Stir he avoided the issue when Carter questioned  him in parliament this week.

Five years of ineptness deserves more than obfuscation. Does nobody in government know how to say, “sorry we stuffed up”?

Hat tip: Dig ‘n’ Stir


Yule wins Local Govt Presidency

July 30, 2008

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule has been elected president of Local Government New Zealand.

Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast, who contested the presidency too, is the new deputy.

Bob Harvey, Waitakere mayor had earlier criticised local bodies supporting Yule’s nomination:

“It’s a brainless stand as the largest urban authority in New Zealand to not think through what the job entails and I’m surprised and amazed at their decision. Local government will be in serious trouble if they don’t come to their sense and realise that the job is beyond the mayor of a small rural district.”

Obviously enough of those who voted realise that size doesn’t matter and a president with an understanding of provincial issues and a deputy who knows about urban issues should ensure the views of all local authorities are understood and represented.

Update: I stand to be corrected on this but I think Yule was electorate chair for Michael Laws when he (Laws) was a National MP. The skills he’d need for that job will be very useful in his new role 🙂


Size doesn’t really matter, Bob

July 28, 2008

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey says support for a small-town politician’s bid to for the presidency of Local Government New Zealand is “brainless”.

The Sunday Star Times (not on line) says that Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule is running against Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast. Yule’s bid is supported by the Auckland Regional Council and Environment Canterbury which Harvey labelled misguided.

“It’s a brainless stand as the largest urban authority in New Zealand to not think through what the job entails and I’m surprised and amazed at their decision. Local government will be in serious trouble if they don’t come to their sense and realise that the job is beyond the mayor of a small rural district.”

I wouldn’t call a population of 77,500 small and given the district includes the city of Hastings I’d say it’s more provincial than rural. But of course I’m biased because I live in the Waitaki District which has only 20,000 people and no cities.

However, all that’s beside the point.

What matters is not the size of the local bodies the candidates for the position represent but whether or not they have the skills for the job. I have no idea which of the two would be a better president but I take exception to Harvey’s presumption that the job is “too big for the mayor of a small rural district”.

Harvey might not realise this, but there is intelligent life in the provinces.


Banks to Shadbolt – keep hands off Auckland

July 28, 2008

Tim Shadbolt says that if Auckland becomes a super city it would need a celebrity to lead it but John Banks isn’t impressed.

When pigs could fly and muttonbirds took up roost in Auckland would be the day Tim Shadbolt became mayor of New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland Mayor John Banks said.

 The Sunday Star Times reported yesterday that Mr Shadbolt was regularly pressured to be Auckland’s mayor and he was not ruling it out. But the statement was met with a defiant retort from Mr Banks.

“I think the chances of Mr Shadbolt becoming the mayor of a super city in Auckland are about as much chance as pigs flying — and I love pigs,” Mr Banks said.

“And the problem also for Mayor Shadbolt is here in Auckland it’s not cold enough for muttonbirds.” Mr Shadbolt was ideally suited to the polar region of the country and not so well suited to the fifth best city in the world, Mr Banks said.

The second-time-around Auckland mayor said he had been elected back because he was the one to promote and execute a move to the city becoming a super city.

Auckland finds out in December whether its seven city and district councils and one regional council will be rejigged — potentially into a single local authority or an amalgamation of several existing councils — when the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance releases its recommendations.

Mr Shadbolt said Mr Bank’s comments were born out of insecurities.

“I used to find his comments insulting but now I’ve sort of acclimatised and know they’re born out of insecurities.”

Whether Auckland needs Tim is a moot point, but why would he want to leave Invercargill which is growing on the back of the rural upturn for Auckland which is facing recession?


%d bloggers like this: