Thursday, May 26, 2022

Chris Milne: A Tale of Two Cities

A great mystery of 2022 is how it came to be that the Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt Mayors formed polar opposite views on Three Waters.

The two cities share the same water collection and treatment system, the same water management (Wellington Water), occupy the same valley and share the same cost structures.
Three public opinion polls in the two cities have revealed strong resident opposition to the Labour Government’s centralisation of water management, including 50% iwi control through co-governance.
So how is it that, despite public opposition in both cities, Mayor Wayne Guppy of Upper Hutt is opposed but Mayor Campbell Barry is not?
The answer is pretty straight-forward. In 2019 Cr Campbell Barry campaigned for the Hutt City mayoralty under a Labour ticket. What the public were never told is that the Labour Party exacts a high price from candidates who use their trademark.
It will surprise most people to learn that the Labour Party requires that candidates using the Labour logo sign a pledge to support and implement Labour policy irrespective of the views of local residents. Further, all Labour candidates in a local body election pledge to block vote on issues of Labour policy.
The rewards for this abdication of local loyalty are political career opportunities and campaign assistance – databases, email systems, door knocking volunteers, billboard teams and social media support. One recent bauble was Mayor Barry’s appointment to the Labour Government’s Three Waters review taskforce, a body that reported back very recently with, you guessed it, no substantial changes to the policy opposed by the majority of Lower Hutt’s residents.
The Labour Party Constitution in force during the 2019 council elections contains Rule 95 (linked below):
R95: Any person accepting nomination as a Party candidate shall sign a pledge ….
R95(e): I will faithfully observe the Constitution and Policy of the Party and the policy of the party for the [Lower Hutt] district.
R95(f): If elected, I will vote … in accordance with the decisions [of the Labour ticket members].
And the following rule dictates that Labour candidates will support each other no matter what:
R95(c): I will wholeheartedly support the duly selected candidates of the Party in the [Lower Hutt] district.
And do note that the first Objective (R3) of the Labour Party is “to elect [candidates] for the purpose of giving effect to Party policy and principles”. Rule 152 says that “The Policy Platform is binding on … all Labour Party members elected to public office who describe their affiliation as “Labour” or “Labour Party” on the ballot.
Labour candidates are subject to a Disciplinary Process with multiple possible sanctions if they breach their pledge [R309]:
Rule 313: Disciplinary action shall be applied for and ruled upon on the grounds of:
(a): contravention of the Principles, Rules and Policies of the Party as contained in the current Constitution and policy documents of the Party, including under (c) – being automatically suspended for two years for publicly campaigning against another Labour candidate.
1) Link to the 2013 Labour Party Constitution:
2) Link to the 2020 Constitution (the relevant provisions are virtually unchanged – see Rule 12.4.1). This will apply to the 2022 Council elections.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (the first sentence of the book).

Chris Milne is a lawyer, businessman and Hutt City Councillor.


DeeM said...

I don't believe that local politicians should be able to run as candidates linked by association and policy to national political parties.
They are elected to represent their local residents and should act in accordance with what the local majority want, not what their national party demands.

Unknown said...

Ah Yes. When selling ones soul, make sure you read all the T&C;s and don't just jump to the signature page...

Ewan McGregor said...

This really is outrageous. Outside of the main centres, political parties stay out of local government, and this comment proves the wisdom of it. It’s an affront to open democracy and to the representative’s constituents.

Unknown said...

Party influence and loyalty is blatantly apparent in Rotorua too. The mayor, Steve Chadwick is a past Labour MP and has introduced the party's politics big time. We are now faced with the issue of she and her loyal councillors and management saying nothing about the sale of 7 reserves to Kainga Ora for social housing. This inf was leaked to us. Mayor Chadwick's reason for the secrecy was to instruct on our "political view", by which I assume she meant "her political view, and also knowing that there would huge public resentment.
The disastrous Representation Arrangement Bill is another example of mayor Chadwick's Labour Party association. She is resigning this year having been given a cushy position on the Maori Health Authority, presumably a thankyou present!

Empathic said...

What's the situation for candidates standing under other parties' banners? Do they have similar provisions? Not surprising that Labour does, typical of communist regimes that prioritize the state's power over all else.

Anonymous said...

In the USA it is well established that 'Democrat' controlled cities are failed cities. There is no need to have any involvement of central government politics in local government politics. Social welfare is not a local government function. No Labour party or green party politician would be capable of giving you a proper 'prescription' of local government functions versus central government functions. There is just an hysterical frenzy to spend unearned taxpayers money on ill conceived and invariably un warranted projects.

Unknown said...

Really. Absolute a no no! Iam very suprised that in Auckland both Goff and Ardern have publically indorsed Collins for mayor!