Across New Zealand, local body election results demonstrated a swing to the political right.
Replacing left leaning elected representatives with right leaning elected representatives, may slow down and even temporarily stop the rot, but changing the politicians is only part of the plan, if New Zealand is going to avoid becoming another Zimbabwe or South Africa.
Reassuringly, Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has already delivered a powerful message as to who’s in command of Auckland (1) which hopefully debunks the following opinion.
Who rules? Elected Representative or Permanent Bureaucrats.
My master’s thesis (completed while I was also a Member of the Executive of Government) focused on this topic, identifying that:
“In contemporary western society there is no permanent governing elite in the Executive Branch of Governance – anywhere in the British Commonwealth or USA.” (2)
President Reagan appeared to have captured the essence of relationship between bureaucrat and politician when he said:
“As every present and past political appointee knows without (bureaucrats), policy change would be impossible.” (3)
What does this mean?
It means, that elected representatives come and go (that’s democracy) but career bureaucrats hang about – some for a lifetime and that ensures that over time, the culture of the bureaucracy will prevail.
No need to be a rocket scientist to work out that the bureaucrats, infected with the culture of, “we know best”, handed down from one generation to the next, tend to consider that “their” policies and plans for “their” ministry, are much better for the nation than the policies of a newly democratically elected government.
Therefore, it’s not the elected MPs or councillors who wield the power. It’s the Mandarins!
Career bureaucrat. Promotion enhanced by obsequious conduct. [Been subject to this when I was a rising star in the police.]
Why do Mandarin’s rule?
Review the curriculum vitae of the current cabal in Labour’s caucus, and make up your own mind about the level of experience and level of intelligence many bring to the Hallowed Halls of Power. Conclusion? Easy to manipulate.
However, sometimes, elections do produce outstanding politicians. Men/women with the acuity to understand the problems a country faces and to present solutions.
Hon Sir Roger Douglas, Hon Michael Bassett and Hon David Caygill are some who shone like beacons during my time in the House. They understood the cause of the economic catastrophe Rt Hon Sir Rob Muldoon delivered to our doorstep 1984.
In my view Rt Hon Helen Clark was also in this category – though a little to the left of the economic solution of the others.
PS Right now we have “expert journalists” advocating shades of Muldoonism e.g., freeze interest rates! Next it will be freeze prices. Then wages. Culminating in “Bring back Roger Douglas?”
On my side of the House – not so easy to find MPs who were leaders – not followers. Dennis Marshall, Hon John Fallon, and Hon Wyatt Creech were competent - in my view, but as in any Cabinet (as I assess the situation), rank has little to do with ability. Agreeing with the contemporaneous ruling cabal is important. Hon Ruth Richardson and Hon Maurice Williamson may have been the exceptions.
Some elected representatives ruled the bureaucrats.
In fact, some cabinet ministers took control by bringing into their cabinet offices, experts who could challenge the “departmental” experts. Hon Koro Wetere was the first to install “his own office experts” to ensure he could compete with state department bureaucrats. Hon Sir Roger Douglas was the next to engage “in office experts” – for the same reason.
But! Reality of politics is (in my assessment) that, there are too many new MP’s who suddenly find themselves earning three times what they may have earned before being brought into parliament, content to act as cannon fodder for the ruling elite of a political party. [Excommunicated former Labour MP Dr Sharma being a recent exception to this trend. (4)]
Disease lurks in Bowels of the Behemoth.
That Main Stream Media (MSM) by my assessment, scurried to mitigate the damage with snide snipes and other banality, for the arrival of “right leaning” democratically elected representatives at Local Level, does suggest that danger is nigh for Jacinda and her in-house Maori battalion at the next Central Government election.
Local right leaning democratically elected council representatives, may be able to block some Maorification (5), but in my view, the incumbent Mandarins by majority, will be inclined to follow their preference rather than the instructions of the new democratically elected representatives.
Whether the Prime Minister is actually intimidated by her in house Maori battalion, is a moot point, but the menace this minority group of “elitist” Maori (some of whom Rt Hon Helen Clark historically condemned as “Wreckers and Haters” (6)), continues to present, is a massive threat to the democratic process of New Zealand.
(2) I did a Victoria Master’s paper on this topic – and got a pass - while I was an MP (i.e I did not spend my spare time in Bellamy’s bar).
Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as a Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland spies & V.I.P. security; currently Honorary Consul for an African state, Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in New Zealand and has international business interests.