Here’s why we took a special interest in the latest appointments to the Local Government Commission

Latest from the Beehive [updated]

Our first instinct, on reading of government appointments nowadays, is to check to see who has landed new jobs and what are their family connections to the inhabitants of the
Beehive.

This follows the disclosure and questioning in recent weeks of certain appointments to public positions.  But only some mainstream media have shown any interest.

Among the exceptions:

  • June 21 – NZ Herald

PM stands by Nanaia Mahuta after Nats say Government contracts to family show ‘pattern of perceived conflicts

The Prime Minister is standing by Nanaia Mahuta over claims about perceived conflicts of interest in contracts involving Mahuta’s family.

Last month the Herald revealed the Ministry for the Environment had awarded Mahuta’s husband and family members contracts worth about $90,000.

  • June 23 – NZ Herald

Nanaia Mahuta family member appointments: Officials launch review into working group positions

The Ministry for the Environment is looking over the process that saw Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s husband and two members of her extended family appointed to a five-member working group.

  • June 27 – Newstalk ZB

Mike’s Minute: About time there was an investigation into the Mahuta contracts

As if the Government didn’t have enough credibility issues, the inevitable Mahuta investigation has begun against the backdrop of the Prime Minister saying she had her full confidence. Continue reading “Here’s why we took a special interest in the latest appointments to the Local Government Commission”

Yes, we know about the Rotorua councillor’s resignation – but the legality of the mayor’s secrecy motion has gone unquestioned

Malcolm Harbrow, an admirably dogged campaigner against governmental secrecy on his No Right Turn blog, has drawn attention to something the mainstream media missed.

He has focused on the legality of Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick’s actions at a stormy meeting of the Rotorua Lakes Council.

RNZ is among the media which reported on the meeting, where a motion to move into confidential session over the controversial Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill triggered a councillor’s immediate resignation.

No Right Turn has provided a link to the council’s livestream recording of the meeting (from 4:15 to 8:15), so we can see for ourselves what happened.

It then notes that RNZ‘s focus is on the resignation, but something has been missed – the mayor’s secrecy motion:

At a full council meeting today, Chadwick moved to include a discussion about the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill into a confidential section of the meeting.

She said it was to “enable us all as council, together, to have a free and frank discussion in response to the attorney general’s request for further information needed to develop policy work”. Continue reading “Yes, we know about the Rotorua councillor’s resignation – but the legality of the mayor’s secrecy motion has gone unquestioned”

Local Govt Commission over-rides Rotorua’s undemocratic voting model – but what will Labour-majority Parliament do?

Kiwiblog today reports that the Local Government Commission has completed a determination for Rotorua which will result in three Māori Ward Councillors being elected, but without sacrificing equality of suffrage.

As Kiwiblog tells us, the commission favours –

  • An urban general ward – 48,410 people elect six councillors – 8,068 population per councillor.
  • A Māori ward – 21,700 people elect three councillors – 7,233 population per councillor.
  • A rural general ward – 7,200 people elect one councillor – 7,200 population per councillor.

This means the commission has rejected Rotorua Lakes Council’s model which comprised one Māori ward seat, one general ward seat and eight at-large seats.

To implement the council model, special legislation has been introduced to Parliament to over-ride requirements of the Local Elections Act.

The local bill, the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill, passed its first reading in Parliament last week and is being examined by a Parliamentary select committee.

Not the Governance and Administration Committee which looks at business related to local government, it should be noted.

At the bill’s first reading, Parliament (or rather, Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party) voted to refer it to the Māori Affairs Committee which looks at business related to Māori affairs and Treaty of Waitangi negotiations.

This committee is chaired by Labour list MP Tamati Coffey who is zealously sponsoring the bill. Continue reading “Local Govt Commission over-rides Rotorua’s undemocratic voting model – but what will Labour-majority Parliament do?”