Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


NewsWorthy - 17 November 2006

NewsWorthy

17 November 2006 - No. 93

Waterfront Stadium Shows Hubris

Hubris in Greek tragedy is excessive pride towards or defiance of the gods leading to nemesis.

In my email newsletter No. 92 five critical issues which surrounded the development of the waterfront stadium were identified. The passage of time has not diminished the importance of those issues; nor has the flow of information assuaged those of us who doubt the merit of the proposal.


That said, the National Party made it clear at the time of the bid for the Rugby World Cup that it would cooperate with the Government in staging a successful event, and that has not changed.

In Melbourne Cup terms there were two early leaders when the Government's proposals for the waterfront site were announced - the Prime Minister whose prejudice is well known and Fletcher Building which was chosen as the contractor for the work without a competitive tender process.

Fletchers were presented with a significant advantage which reflected in their share price reaching a record $10.20 on 14 November 2006. The stadium risk was to be carried by the taxpayer on a "cost reimbursable" basis.

We have seen the failure of such arrangements with substantial cost overruns (above estimates) in the Government's prison building programme. Small wonder that other builders were outraged by the process!

At this stage (subject to any stance which the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council might take) the dreams of the Prime Minister and Mr Mallard will remain evanescent. If the Government's vision of "transformation" is reflected in the waterfront stadium it falls well short of the aspirations of Aucklanders.

The police discretion to prosecute

We have seen in recent days another example where the police discretion to prosecute has been exercised in a way that affronts most right-thinking New Zealanders. An earlier example was referred to in my newsletter 62.

On Thursday 27 July 2006, Ricky Beckham burst into the premises of Small Arms International in Penrose armed with a machete and allegedly said "give me the guns or I will kill you". Greg Carvell shot Beckham in the stomach at close range with a handgun.

It seems a classic case of self-defence. The law is clear - you can use such force to defend yourself as is reasonable in the circumstances; up to and including deadly force.

Carvell is to be charged with possession of a firearm without lawful proper or sufficient purpose. That sounds strange. The events took place in a gunshop of which Carvell is a co-owner.

In these cases the Police should not prosecute when the facts are clear. It is reminiscent of the traditional military view that an officer should face court marshal to vindicate his honour - that of course ignores both the trauma of a prosecution and the significant costs in mounting a defence.

Unbridled Government

There are a plethora of political newsletters of varying quality. From the desk of Muriel Newman comes a tale worth wider circulation.

It was a Professor of History at the University of Singapore, Cyril Northcote Parkinson, who first developed the law that explains the relentless growth in public sector bureaucracies. Parkinson's Law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Through his extensive experience with the British Civil Service, Parkinson observed that in spite of the decline of Britain's "overseas empire", the number of employees at the Colonial Office continued to grow. That line of inquiry led to the finding that bureaucracies expand relentlessly at a rate of between five to seven percent a year "irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done".

He believed there were two key reasons for bureaucratic growth. The first is that officials do everything in their power to avoid rivals, employing multiple subordinates rather than equals or someone better, in order to retain their position in the hierarchy. Second, he believed that officials focus their efforts on making work for each other.

When we look at the present state of the public service, we can see that Parkinson's Law is alive and well. Back in 1999, when Labour was first elected, there were 29,000 public servants. Today there are more than 40,000.

The pay in the public service is not too shabby either. There are 2,651 public servants who earn over $100,000, their 32 Chief Executives earn between $200,000 and $500,000, and 13 other state employees, like the Commissioner for the Environment, earn over $200,000. The top earner was the former Commissioner of Police whose remuneration was between $680,000 and $690,000 a year.


Political Quote of the Week

"If you see a snake, just kill it - don't appoint a committee on snakes." -- H. Ross Perot - candidate for U.S. President in 1992 and 1996.


Dr Richard Worth

National Party MP

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

War: What’s To Commemorate?

Gordon Campbell in Werewolf: It is easy to know what we don’t want to commemorate on Anzac Day this year...

In fact, is there anything that can be validly commemorated on this 100th anniversary of Gallipoli?

Beyond, that is, a fleeting sense of empathy with the thousands of soldiers killed or wounded on April 25 1915 and in the months thereafter, until the whole thing was finally called off in December 1915.

(Most of the New Zealand survivors were transferred to the trenches in France, and eventually to the battle of the Somme in 1916.) More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Peter Ellis Case: Minister Declines Request For Commission Of Inquiry

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry on the basis that an inquiry cannot be used to determine the liability of any person. More>>

Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Govt Breaks Free Doctors Visit Promise To Kids

Documents obtained by the Green Party show that the Government decided to fund only 90 percent of doctors’ visits for children suffering from an injury in an attempt trim the cost of the so-called “free” visits. More>>

ALSO:

Other Wars: Extension Of NZDF Commitment In Afghanistan

The New Zealand Defence Force’s commitment of mentors and support staff to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Afghanistan has been extended out to December 2016, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

PM's Press Conference: Auckland Property Prices Increasing "Too Rapidly"

John Key accepted that Auckland property prices 'are going up too rapidly” in a press conference held today in Wellington, however he said that this is not anything new. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: ANZAC PMs Concerned About ISIL Bringing The War Home

Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Abbott spoke of the bond formed between Australia and New Zealand in the “baptism of fire” of Gallipoli. Abbott stated that New Zealand and Australia’s values and interests are linked, and this is reflected in the joint operation in Iraq which will begin shortly. More>>

ALSO:

GCSB's China Shopping: Key Damages China Relationship

Evidence that the Key Government recklessly approved a GCSB spying operation to intercept Chinese diplomatic communications between offices in Auckland will pointlessly damage our relationship with China, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable. So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news