Right Thinking - the word from Wellington Nov 22

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More Partnership Schools on the way

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the second round of Partnership School applications on Thursday.  The successful schools in this round will open day one, term one 2015, and they will join the five existing Partnerships already approved and due to open early next year.  John Banks welcomed the announcement.  He said that what Partnership Schools do is give educators greater flexibility in return for greater accountability for getting better results for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable students.

Cabinet has also given in principle approval for annual rounds. That means more Partnership Schools in the future, assuming the funding is available and there is political will. 

Real parental choice in education has long been a part of ACT values.  Partnership schools make this choice real for more parents.  Only ACT’s presence in Parliament can ensure this choice keeps expanding. Labour and the unions will make every effort to shut the door on this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Lines in the Sand

The Surveyor-General has drawn up the provisional electoral boundaries for the 2014 and 2017 elections.  With MMP and List seats there is less drama around boundaries than there once was.  Two key features: change is necessary in Christchurch because the electorate of Christchurch East is down 10,000 with another 30,000 gone from the rest of the City.  Big changes are also in store in North Western Auckland with the creation of a marginal Labour-leaning seat. The new seat will have a knock-on effect on other Auckland electorates, many of which are over quota. 

CCCP boosters will be disappointed.  Conservative Leader Colin Craig would not win the new west Auckland electorate on paper, and has no show now that Hon Paula Bennett has decided she will contest it.  Mr Craig is now hinting that the Nats should gas new National MP for Rodney, Mark Mitchell.  The media are offering up Foreign Minister, Murray McCully’s East Coast Bays.  Mr McCully (reputedly part of the Nat’s Kitchen Cabinet) says he has not be party to any discussions.

The electorate of Epsom loses some of the suburb of Epsom in the south west corner of the seat.  Other than this there are no other changes. The boundaries will be finalised next year.

 

Yoyo dieting in the public sector

The Nats have passed the five year anniversary of the PM and Minister of Finance working together.  There is no doubt that both Key and English like each other, which is in stark contrast to many of Labour’s senior MPs.   More importantly, it also marks five years of the policy of spending restraint – where spending rises, just more slowly than in the past.  One key measure of this restraint has been to hold and reduce the size of the core public service. The NZ Herald reports that the Nat’s attempt to hold down the core public sector is starting to falter.  

Self-imposed spending restraint is not new in the public sector. Prior to Roger Douglas government expanded and contracted with the political cycle.  Helen Clark returned to this old pattern in her last term between 2005 to 2008.  The latest bounce back in core public service shows that managerialism only gets you so far; the only real way to hold down the growth of government is to permanently hand back the wealth to those who create it.

 

The Wrap

Quiet achiever of the week

RT thinks John Key does more for women in politics than Helen Clark ever did (can anyone remember any of her Ministers who were women?  What about significant portfolios?).  This week’s award goes to Hon Amy Adams, Environment Minister.  Adams a former lawyer has been given the huge job of RMA reform.  She is also dealing with the global corporation Greenpeace (and their New Zealand Parliamentary mouthpiece) the Greens on petroleum prospecting in the deep sea. She is right; the risks to the environment from prospecting are small.  The potential benefits to our economy are huge.

“All at sea” award of the week

Sticking with the theme, this one goes to Greenpeace executive director Bunny McDiarmid, Co-Skipper (there couldn’t be just one) of the good ship Vega.  Yes, Co-Captain McDiamid found the prospecting site and occupied the sea above it…..for all of a couple of minutes most likely.   Time and, more importantly, tide wait for no man.    

 

Upcoming Events -

  • Tomorrow, ACT Canterbury Regional Forum, Saturday 23 November, 2.30 - 4.30pm Cotswold Hotel, Papanui Rd, Christchurch.  Come and hear Dr Eric Crampton on "Property Rights in Disaster zones" and "WHY we need ACT"  from Dr Jamie Whyte, Author and Philosopher.  John Boscawen ACT President will also be attending and will speak.

 

  • Tomorrow evening, Saturday 23 November, 6.30pm onwards-President's  Dinner at the Phuket Restaurant, 513 Papanui Rd, Papanui Christchurch. John Boscawen and ACT volunteers will be resting up after a hard day’s work of distributing direct mail to Christchurch East voters. Contact Brogan Powlesland for a booking at bpowlesland@hotmail.com.

 

  • Christchurch East By-election - if you are able to help deliver mail over the weekend, your assistance will be very much appreciated. Please contact Brogan Powlesland at 021 129 6391

Auckland's Unitary Plan won't make a jot of difference to housing affordability

It doesn't matter whether the Unitary Plan allows for relatively intensified development inside the Rural Urban Boundary, or greenfield developments outside of it, aka subdivisions. 

That is because the problem Auckland has at its core is anti-development legislation - the Resource Management ACT (RMA).

It isn't right when developments in Long Bay, for example, take 18 years to get off the ground and can be held up by people living in the Coromandel.

The RMA came into effect in 1991. 

At that time the ratio of median house price to median income was around 3 to 1. 

That means before the RMA, a median house price was $300,000 and the median household income was $100,000.  That's easily affordable. 

Today it is almost 6 to 1. 

Even if median incomes moved to $150,000 (which they haven't), median house prices have increased to $750,000.  That's quite unaffordable.

It takes too long to build a house in Auckland, and it costs too much.

The RMA has created the situation in Auckland where perfectly responsible developments are opposed and delayed to the extent that, if they ever get off the ground, the extra costs have pushed up the price of the final product.  It has made housing unaffordable, and created a crisis.

It is therefore irrelevant what the Unitary Plan says about where properties can be built, and what land can be developed. 

Unless the RMA is dramatically reformed to create a presumption of development and a restriction on the opposition to developments, the Unitary Plan will mean nothing. 

And that is because people in Coromandel will still be permitted to oppose, and thereby delay, developments in Auckland.

Author of this blog post, Nick Kearney, is the Local Board Member for the Kaipatiki Ward. 

The inner Waitemata Harbour suburbs of Beach Haven, Birkenhead, Chatswood, Birkdale, Northcote Peninsula, Glenfield, Hillcrest and Marlborough make up the Kaipātiki local board area. It is bounded by the Northern Motorway to the east.