Red Alert

A lion in Parliament but a mouse when he comes to Auckland

Posted by on March 24th, 2013

Two weeks ago Housing Minister Nick Smith accused Len Brown of killing the dreams of Aucklanders, and said the city’s planning rules had a stranglehold on the city.  The potshots have continued for the past fortnight.  Then today on Q&A, the day before he flies to Auckland to meet Len Brown and Penny Hulse, Smith comes over all olive branches and white doves: there is a lot of agreement, the Auckland Plan is now “balanced” and he and Len are “in the same paddock”.

So what gives? The Member for Nelson is a lion in Parliament but a mouse when he comes to Auckland.  What has changed?

My theory: all the sound and fury from the Government is just political play acting designed to hide the fact that the Government has done nothing about housing affordability over the last four years. Nick Smith’s main job as Housing Minister is to run interference – blaming Auckland Council and framing the issue as being about the availability of greenfields land when even the Productivity Commission questions whether opening up large quantities of new land on the fringes will result in more affordable homes.

This is familiar stuff from Nick Smith. Remember the manufactured ACC crisis? Remember the bogus numbers on Council borrowing he used to justify his local government reform bill that had to be taken down from the Internal Affairs website?

But the risk here is that he is picking a fight with the country’s biggest city, as Mai Chen argued in the Herald.  Aucklanders don’t take kindly to another South Island MP trying to run Auckland from his office in Wellington. Having Gerry set our transport priorities is bad enough.

Nick Smith flies to Auckland to meet with Len Brown and Penny Hulse tomorrow. I welcome his visit. He might learn something. But if he wants to play at being an Aucklander by having a say on our plan then he should at least walk the talk. I challenge him to skip the limo tomorrow and drive himself from the airport to the Town Hall in morning rush hour. Let’s see how he gets on.

14 Responses to “A lion in Parliament but a mouse when he comes to Auckland”

  1. Nick K says:

    It’s not the Auckland Plan he is complaining about.

  2. peter says:

    He’s get more of a feel for the plight of Aucklanders if he tried to drive from say Takanini to Auckland central in rush hour..Or from Constellation Drive to the Central City. The last thing we need is more urban sprawl, just where are they going to put the extra roads I wonder ?

  3. bbfloyd says:

    It never fails to surprise me how easily these tory mp’s are getting awawy with blatant game playing when it comes to serious issues….

    It doesn’t seem to matter how good the case is against them put up by people like yourself Phil. It doesn’t get heard where it counts… in the daily news broadcasts, and publications….

    Time to step up the level of pressure… Take back the standard name from the chardonnay socialists who have degraded it, and publish your own paper…Refuse to deal with the herald, and the obvious tory operatives like Pat(cowpat) Gower… They will only misinterpret everything said by labour mp’s anyway… Let them speculate in ignorance…

    There are real and pressing issues arising from the raiding party’s abrogation of duty of care… Without a proper public debate that uses reality as it’s basis, then the stupidity will just roll on down into paralysis, and more hardship, and eventually, widespread unrest…

  4. Patricia says:

    This is typical Nick Smith style – create a headline then back off. Most people recall only the headline and don’t check out the follow-up. The comment regarding his attack on local government is spot on as well – using shabby or no research to look ‘strong’ is a recognisable ploy which he has used regularly. In his own area some refer to him as ‘Mr Headline’ and I am only one of many who have suffered from this destructive tactic.

  5. Jeremy says:

    That was a new take – normally its the South Islanders complaining about know nothing Aucklander working in ivory towers in Wellington!

  6. Arkonaut says:

    Don’t forget Phil that you opposed the Supercity from the start. If there wasn’t a supercity then there wouldn’t be a single mayor for the Government in Wellington to deal with. The Government hasn’t opposed the Auckland Plan. They have just said that they don’t yet agree with all of the detail on how it will be implemented, or that the Mayor’s idea of running roughshod over community consultation on the community plan so that he can fast-track everything before the elections later in the year are realistic.

  7. Phil Twyford says:

    Don’t forget Arkonaut that we always supported the idea of an amalgamated city, and set up the Royal Commission that got the ball rolling. We did however oppose the anti-democratic, corporatised and over-centralised model that National implemented.

  8. Jack Ramaka says:

    A jumped up little group of South Island J****!!!

    Playing monopoly with the public purse.

  9. bbfloyd says:

    @jeremy…”normally its the South Islanders complaining about know nothing Aucklander working in ivory towers in Wellington!”

    The major difference is that this time it’s an accurate assertion!…not just more uninformed bigotry….

  10. Jack Ramaka says:

    The problem is I do not think anyone in the National Party realises the extent of Auckland’s transport issues sometimes it takes me 30 minutes to get to work and I am only 2 km away from the office.

    Unfortunately we have petty politics at work here and John Key and his cronies got their knickers in a twist as they did not get their pet John Banks into the mayoralty position.

    We need sensible people in Local and Central Government, sick of the sideshows and the nonsense, Brand Key is not acting in the best interests of all New Zealanders.

  11. Jack Ramaka says:

    Housing and transport are intrically linked we need sound planning on both these issues. Obviously everyone has been sitting on their hands for the last 30-40 years and nothing has actually been planned in a logical sequence with regards to Auckland, apart from changing the Building Codes to build leaky houses.

  12. George says:

    All of the Accommodation Supplement paid in Auckland should be funded by a charge on Auckland rates. How long would Len Brown’s obscene housing shortage policy last then?

  13. bbfloyd says:

    @georgy… You do realise that this site exists to talk about REAL issues…don’t you?? Of course you do….Which is why you should stop being silly….

  14. George says:

    @bbfloydy… Only Aucklanders think it silly that the NZD1 bio a year consequences of their real estate bubble scheme should be met by them and not the taxpayer at large.