At the monthly meeting of the RSI-inducing Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, mayor Len Brown threw away his pre-prepared agenda and tackled what he seemed to believe was a dangerous stirring among the masses – a row about the proposed rates rises.
Basing his views on a single article featured in some other North Shore-based organ (the name of which The Speculator didn’t catch, but it sounded something like The Four-Paw Times), Brown proceeded to provide a detailed explanation of how, why, when, where, which, whether and under what star sign the new rates policy was designed and the justification thereof.
The Speculator’s notes from the session shed little light on the content of the mayor’s talk, containing as they do a lot of numbers with percentage signs crossed out, and the word “average” highlighted several times. There is also an unsuccessful sketch of the back of Len’s head.
Nevertheless, it was clear that the mayor is sensitive to the current economic environment in which many people are economically stretched, and was keen therefore to ensure his rates plans were not misrepresented, even if the audience he chose were the somewhat bemused, gentle burghers of Devonport.
Indeed, questions from the 60-odd attendees were sparse and largely of the “my cat’s got arthritis and what are you going to do about it” variety; one assumes from readers of The Four Paw Times.
It was also interesting watching Brown and Hartley interact with Chris Darby and the Board on the issue of the Devonport library project. They are effective at slickly managing the machinery of government, although this is not necessarily always a good thing. More than once, the irascible but invaluable Jan O’Connor upset their accelerating apple cart before it could skip lightly over some of the more inconvenient detail. One can imagine the indestructible Winston playing a similar role in the next session of parliament.
Good democracy it seems, requires that the agents of that democracy do not get on, no matter how much personal charm each of the members may possess. If you vote for a candidate because you think you like her or him, then you either a fool, or have been fooled.
In a perfect world, one would vote not for individual candidates, but instead for “working groups” of candidates. The last Canadian Prime Minister who possessed a full set of human chromosomes – Pierre Trudeau – used this method when selecting his advisers, ensuring certain combinations would produce well-reasoned positions with which he knew he would disagree. Trudeau understood democracy by definition could not run at any single politician’s preferred pace. If it did, the politician in question was either a dictator, a deceiver or a do nothing.
Our board is – currently – behaving like a democrat.