Mark Blumsky, former extravagant Mayor of Wellington and new Wellington National list MP has made his maiden speech, and besides some good stuff about less government and tax, he made 3 statements that show he can’t keep his hands off of things:
1. “We need to see progress on Transmission Gully. We need to see it now; it is necessary” I need say little more on this as I have blogged extensively about. Mark, lower tax and building a billion dollar road with a negative benefit/cost ratio don’t add up. Stop trying to waste our money.
2. “Out at the airport, it is vital that the new generation Boeing 787 jets are able to land in Wellington” Why Mark? What do you know about aviation? I believe they can land, but there is no indication Air NZ wants them to, because there is not enough demand for long haul flights from Wellington beyond Australia and the Pacific. Wellington-Singapore isn't going to happen, when they don't do Christchurch-Singapore anymore. Besides the 787s don't come for 5 more years. Shannon in Ireland played this cargo cult mentality – built a big airport and nobody came. Leave business to business Mark, you know shoes, you don’t know transport.
3. “We need to look seriously at some level of local government amalgamation.” As a libertarian you might think I believe in less local government, and I do. However, Owen McShane some time ago wrote that the optimum size of local authorities was not necessarily bigger. Yes some councils are too small – Banks Peninsula clearly is and is merging with Christchurch. Excessively small councils find it hard to attract talented staff and face high overheads due to poor economies of scale. However there is a more insidious face in big councils – big councils can waste money more easily because a tiny rates increase means a decent windfall in revenue – so big councils think they can undertake any lunatic scheme individual councillors dream up, because the cost of each scheme is relatively low. So you get art, business subsidies, video libraries, youth cafes and all sorts of utter nonsense that councils shouldn’t be doing – Mark should know, he led a council that embarked on continuous increases in local government spending.
The answer to local government is NOT to amalgamate, although if councils want to, it shouldn’t be stopped – but to eliminate unnecessary functions, which ultimately are all of them. Councils should be forced to get out of all activities that they can charge users for, and get out of social activities like housing and community centres. If you like something council does, pay for it yourself! Big councils want to do more, they want to interfere and tax more - bigger councils are not better!
Mark doesn't really believe in the free market, he believes in being popular - and frankly has not been impressive as much beyond a businessman and a cheerleader for Wellington.
Mark, do you want councils doing less, rating less and if so, what would YOU cut, or is the National policy on local government to do nothing?