In the first week of the Coronavirus Health Minister David Clark drove to a Dunedin park two kilometres from his home to ride a mountain bike trail, as New Zealand marked a week in lockdown. Carried out under new laws in which Kiwis’ freedoms were severely curtailed and hundreds who breached its rules were prosecuted. As Clark himself tweeted “New Zealanders, stay home, save lives”. Having being caught out a second time, having originally defended his MT Biking excursion, Clark retains his portfolio.
Now the legality of the Lockdown laws are being criticised by academic and law experts around the country.
David Parker Labours Attorney General maintains he is “satisfied” the Government followed the law and is confident the Bill of Rights Act has not been breached. Parker at the April 16th Epidemic Response Committee, the Attorney-General refused to allow the public to see the Crown Law legal advice on the lockdown.
However Crown Law documents, leaked to Newstalk ZB, say the government’s lockdown was unenforceable. Attorney-General David Parker, however, says the leaked document was only a draft – and “not the considered advice of Crown Law”.
In April, as Labour said it was “essential” people stay at home to save lives, Parker as Minister of the Environment could be found urging mayors and councils to clear a backlog of development consents during the lockdown. Parker wrrote this was “to pave the way for New Zealand to build its way to economic recovery”. He also said councils should exercise “their discretion wisely” to allow essential businesses to keep running, “even if they’re technically breaking the rules”. Parker told councils this would mean allowing some essential businesses like supermarkets to keep operating outside of the hours that their consents allow.
Parker’s letter was sent out to mayors, council chairs and local government chief executives. But the wider public were largely not consulted on this move.
On May 5th Parker oversaw a law change, passed under urgency, that would block the public from the resource consent process. Done in order to “fast track projects that create jobs and stimulate the economy”. Parker’s April 1st press release on the bill also omit the fact the public will not be consulted.
Environment Minister David Parker said new legislation was expected to be passed in June to allow for “faster Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting of development and infrastructure projects”. Done Parker said in response “to the damage the coronavirus pandemic was having on the economy”. Under the new powers resource consent decisions for large projects would not go to council and public input would not happen. Instead, a panel of “experts” chaired by an Environment Court judge would determine whether a project could be given the green light, he said.
Similar fast tracking, following the Christchurch Kaikoura earthquakes, under National government were done for the same reason. This was later criticised as it was found that the fats tracking legislation had being exploited by developer to push through projects that would usually be rejected as going against the RMA and needing public consultation .
When the local community did begin protesting against these over development which included cycle ways (that bypassed the town’s centre) and barriers that cut locals off from traditional diving and kai gathering spots, the transport ministry backed down and altered its plans.
As fo the oversight on such borrowing projects Labour’s cabinet has suspended Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), “due to Covid-19”.
Government decisions are usually accompanied by an RIA published by Treasury, which analysis the impacts of any changes, including an estimate of how much they’re likely to cost. Cabinet minute from 23 March reveals however that the government however has decided to release itself from these obligations, “where they relate to the impacts of the new coronavirus”. This fact was only uncovered after Parliament passed the wrong tax law by accident, bringing into force a multi-billion dollar loan scheme instead “without so much as a select committee to scrutinise it”. The bureaucratic ‘oopsie’ drew closer media scrutiny.
The Government had intended to pass a different tax law, but a mix up at the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) meant a different tax law was tabled and passed through all stages under urgency. The mix up drew the attention of the financial website interest.co.nz. An urgent Cabinet meeting was then held to retrospectively approve the bill making it legal. Despite the wide scope of the loan scheme – there have been no official estimates of how much it will cost. Although it is thought to be roughly $7b, 2 per cent of New Zealand’s pre-crisis GDP.
It comes on top of an already 2019 approved 12 billion to be borrowed for infrastructure. While government funding for water and roading infrastructure “to support the timely increase of housing supply” was actually halved without explanation in the 2019 Budget. Meanwhile actual housing projects of significance never eventuated.
The money borrowed is being used to push urban reform favoured by Labour prior to the corona virus out break. The pre-corona virus Innovating Streets for People pilot fund supports projects based on “tactical urbanism” sought to use techniques such as pilots and pop-ups, or interim treatments that make it “safer and easier for people walking and cycling in a city”.
But following the out break the reasoning ‘tactical urbanisation’ changed.
The government has now announced “Councils can apply now for funding from the NZ Transport Agency, who will cover 90% of the cost of rolling out temporary changes to the streetscape“, so that social distancing can be maintained. Though spending for issues such as delayed surgery, or the mental health impacts to the public, are not seen as pressing or are emerging in official policy anywhere obvious in Labour’s post coronavirus response spending.
Spending which in fact seems focused on pushing the same agenda Labour was set on before the coronavirus crisis.
In Dunedin the council, which includes former Labour MP Benson Pope and Aaron Hawkin (whose related to the Christchurch based Hawkins construction family), is one area ‘tactical urbanisastion’, including the widening of foot paths, is expected to be pushed through by an obliging council.
All in response for an unexplained post corona virus need of two metre social distancing. Apparently from now on the human race is never to come within two metres of each other ever again.
Policy put in place over night, with little evidence or actual research (beyond some rather flaky projected ‘may be’, ‘could happen’ style forecasts), to back up this foretasted prophecy which support preexisting agendas now relabelled.
Yes that is the narrative were apparently now being sold.
Not just here in NZ but world wide by authorities with interesting financial connection to big tech and smart city entrepreneurs. Powerful lobby groups who are pushing this dystopia utopia view depending on your view point.
A year earlier in June 2019 a 6000-strong petition was petitioned to the Dunedin City Council by local retailers against pedestrianising George St. It accused the council of pushing ‘‘fanatically obsessed views’’ and criticising the consultation on the idea. Jeweller Brent Weatherall, a former Dunedin Counciller, told the ODT “Upgrades are a necessity. However, the impact of one-way traffic flow with a reduction in parking would be catastrophic for business and citizens alike“.
In Nelson the City Council also planned to put in place a range of ‘tactical urbanistion’, now re-branded, post CV19, as social distancing measures in the Nelson CBD. these included widening footpaths and lowering the speed limit. These however have been put on hold, following concerns raised by retailers in the central business district.
A meeting arranged at short notice between Nelson City Council staff and a group of highly irate central business district retailers took place after work began unannounced. Council chief executive Pat Dougherty agreed to cease work along the main street when confronted publicly by the pissed off small business operators. “We thought you knew and we had your support but that’s very clearly not the case,” he said. Local business responded that digging up the streets, this soon after the crisis, rather than helping local retailers would only add to their woes. The excuse to widen footpaths for social distancing is also confusing.
For it is counters a proposed law change which would in fact increase foot path congestion as it would allow bike and electric scooters to be used on the same foot path. Footpaths, used by children and the elderly, which were now told must now be widened so as to maintain social distancing (forever apparently).
The other issue of infrastructure relates to the growing concern of water privatisation a subject closer to David Parker’s former employees law firm Lloyd Anderson when Parker lived in Dunedin.
Llyodd Anderson informed their client “On 20 November 2018 the Government announced more details on its Three Waters Review. This is a wide ranging review, potentially leading to dramatic change on how drinking water, stormwater and wastewater systems currently administered by Councils will be operated. Anderson Lloyd state they are ” national leader in water law. Who advise major industry participants in sectors such as hydroelectricity, primary industry, mining and irrigation that are reliant on water”.
In 2020 Labour is preparing to pass water service regulatory bill. Submission were rapidly held in the last week of November (as the media prepared to leave parliament for the holidays and were not paying attention). This would see the creation of a state based water regulatory that would be manged by private interests.
This bill is to be over seen by Mahuta Nanaia, Labour’s MP for Waikato were the regions strategic planner incidentally is Alexander Kouzminov. Kouzminov a former KGB bio-warfare expert (no seriously that is his background) and author of the book Biological Espionage, more importantly Kouzminov is a former partner in a proposed water bottling plant in Hamilton.This is in the heart of water privatisation territory where companies like Coca-cola have being lobbying the government furiously during the past summer while Jacinda was allegedly on holiday over season and outside of the New Zealand public scrutiny.
See Also https://postmanproductions.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/twisted-tricksters-japspinda-the-cocoa-cola-water-caper/
Mahuta Nanaia is also the Minister for Local Government New Zealand who overseas the Local Government of New Zealand Association. The Association was formed in 1988 and does not answer to a ministry itself. Rather the LGNZ it is seen as the local arm of the 1980’s Rogernomics. Rogernomics was the right wing privatisation of New Zealand proposed under 4th Labour government.
LGNZ past President was former Dunedin Mayor David Cull. LGNZ is heavily influenced by The New Zealand Initiative (formerly known as the Business Round Table), whose President is global investment banker Stephen Jennings.
Jennings is a smart city entrepreneur who financed former global investment banker John Key rise too power with National ranks in 2008. The same year that Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark tabled the pro big business pro privatisation TPPA passed with the help of Key’s National Party. The TPPA was a bill Labour swore not to pass in 2016 as it was undemocratic. A promise Labour promptly went back on once elected in 2017, with the help of the National Party and NZ First.
The NZI claims to be neither left wing nor right wing but it proudly prefers to see it self as “Adam Smith’s invisible hand to government’s visible fist”.
Other issues of privatisation currently being pushed through by the 5th Labour government, as the nation focuses solely on the drama of CV19, is the sale of public forestry assets and increasing rumour that strategic assets like the Port of Otago might be put up for sale or partly sold.
The excuse for the sell off of public assets?
That needs to be done to pay for the money borrowed to meet the corona-virus emergency.
The ‘need’ to spend money on tactical urban infrastructure, to maintain social distancing agenda, due of the lock down. A lockdown that was put in place on the basis of the advice given to the Ministry of Health, led by David Clark, via the March 13th Neil Ferguson Imperial College London (which has a close association to the right wing London School of Economics) report. Advice that stated if we did not impose a lock down 60,000 people at less would die and even with controls at less 10,000 New Zealanders would die.
As in England (were pre-corona virus ‘tactical urbanisation, favoured by pro privatisation lobbyist, is now also being called as ‘needed’ to maintain social distancing) these estimates proved drastically wrong. An error which brings with it not just an economic cost but the spectre of privatisation to such vital life saving areas as health and social welfare.
Rather than save lives it will cost lives.
That is the price those who support privatisation are willing to have the public pay. Though of course the public will not be consulted on this process. Such is the current status of democracy in New Zealand.