INDEPENDENT NEWS

Upton On Line - Labour's Mirror Policy

Published: Fri 5 Nov 1999 10:32 AM
If Labour and the Alliance can reverse the trend of recent polls and form a government after this election, it would be the first truly left-wing administration since 1972-5.
The remarkable thing is that in 25 years their ideas have barely changed.
The Kirk government of 1972 spawned great gobs of new departments, commissions, offices and programmes. If there was any doubt, a "mirror policy" was appropriate, so that you could "look into" something.
Nothing's changed. National analysts have identified 160 new Ministries, offices, funds, schemes and Ministerial roles that Labour has promised so far in this election campaign.
It's just an attempt to scratch every itch and to appease every one of the interest groups they favour. Few of their plans have been thought through. New Zealanders would pick up the bill, and more often than not, deal with yet more bureaucracy.
Helen Clark bemoans high public service salaries. Yet most of her new funds, offices or commissions will require Chief Executives, boards, conferences, and all the rest.
The left attracts congenital tinkerers like a magnet.
What would the Minister for the Community/Voluntary Sector do? Do we really need a Tertiary Ombudsman and a Tertiary Ombudsman's office? What exactly is a FutureWork unit? And what about the plethora of new health boards, advisory committees, management committees and directorates?
Their first instinct is to get together a panel of academics, consultants and local busy bodies to have a go at any and every problem. Nine times out of ten they make it worse.
The world is moving away from big and omnipotent government. The future Labour tells us it has glimpsed exists only in the rear-vision mirror.
Campaign Diary.
Upton-on-line travelled to the Opuha dam yesterday and learnt that the minimum depth for a salmon to negotiate a riffle is 0.24 metres. Constructing the dam has created a few riffles of its own, not the least dealing with local councils administering the Resource Management Act. A few of the locals gathered at Fairlie to talk about it.
Upton-on-line sensed a shallow riffle approaching, to be precise, he felt like a rather large Salmon in a 0.21 metre riffle.
As the conversation got down to mean annual low flows, contributory tributaries and notified hearings in earnest, it was clear that there is nothing straight-forward about the most important resource in South Canterbury: water.
The locals seemed a reasonable and practical bunch who can spy the spawning grounds of bureaucratic fudge a mile off. The sooner the regional council can settle clear catchment based plans, the better it will be for everybody.
Upton-on-line then ventured into Timaru and talked to the good folk at a local law firm, Petrie Mayman Clark. One hardened old lawyer made the acute observation that Labour and the Alliance have the air of a couple that should have split up years ago, but have stayed together for the children.
National local candidate, Wayne Marriott, will do well if provincial common-sense like this prevails!
ends

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