Vote for the teddy bears

April 19th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Karl du Fresnse writes in the Dom Post:

Wellington could save itself a truckload of money by getting rid of its mayor and 14 councillors and replacing them with teddy bears.

Would the quality of governance be affected? Not a jot. The council bureaucrats would continue to run things just as they do now.

Maybe someone should should set up a ticket of teddy bears to run?

Wellington is hardly unique. In local government, real power often resides with the managers. But in Wellington’s case, it’s a lot more obvious than usual.

Hence my suggestion that the council abandon the facade of participatory democracy and replace the councillors with stuffed toys. Meetings would be over faster, the petty bickering and point-scoring would cease, ratepayers would be saved more than $1.3 million a year – which is what they pay the mayor and councillors – and council officials would be free to get on unhindered with what they do anyway, which is running the show.

I am personally fond of koala bears – I had nine of them growing up!

In Wellington’s case, Helene Ritchie is the standout survivor, having first been elected in 1977. Other long-serving councillors are Andy Foster (1992), the mayor, Celia Wade-Brown (1994), Stephanie Cook (1995), Bryan Pepperell (1996), John Morrison and Leonie Gill (both 1998), and Ray Ahipene-Mercer (2000).

Admittedly, it can be useful to have councillors who have been around a while and know the ropes. Besides, some long-serving councillors are conscientious and hard-working. But there are others you couldn’t trust to feed your cat. The trouble is, voters often can’t tell which is which.

Wellington is a dynamic, creative city that deserves a council to match. Unfortunately many of the incumbents give the impression of having run out of ideas and energy years ago and now merely keep their seats warm.

There are some good incumbents. But they are a minority.

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9 Responses to “Vote for the teddy bears”

  1. dave_c_ (214 comments) says:

    The trouble with most councils, is that they ignore the fact that they are there to serve us. They intentionally ignore our wishes, and pursue their own agendas ! Its been said that local and district councils are a corrupt environment, and I’d tend to agree with that.

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  2. Yogibear (288 comments) says:

    At least teddy bears are cuddly and don’t steal the vast quantities of oxygen needed to launch into endless moaning about how rationalising local government is anti-democratic.

    The resulting emissions from half the turkeys being asked to vote for Christmas must be totally stuffing the region’s carbon footprint

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  3. RRM (9,453 comments) says:

    I wanted to like our greenie mayor, but I must admit I facepalmed repeatedly when she was quoted in the paper as saying something like:

    “OMG when did we sack those 400 people? I had no idea!”

    You’re a bit frigging pointless then aren’t you love? On yer bike…

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  4. All_on_Red (1,359 comments) says:

    Great, we could have a matching set. The Teddy Bears at the Council and if the Greens/Labour get in, the Muppets in Parliament!

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  5. peterwn (3,160 comments) says:

    Perhaps the Councillors last year recognised they were being treated like mushrooms and decided to do something about it – get a new CEO.

    Having said that, it must be remembered that councils are charged with all sorts of functions under law (eg providing building inspection services) and they they fail to provide them or make mistakes at their peril. The councillors rely on the CEO to get things right and keep the council out of trouble.

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  6. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    Interesting that the mayor has been on council since 94 and still doesn’t know what’s going on!

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  7. Mark (1,362 comments) says:

    There are a number of councillors amongst that lot who make a very good advertisement for having a limit on the length of term that councillors can serve. Has Helene Ritchie achieved anything in her 35 years as a councillor in Wellington

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  8. hj (6,350 comments) says:

    What we need is to cut red tape and let the developers get on with it.
    http://dc.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Picture-112-1.png

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  9. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    “I am personally fond of koala bears – I had nine of them growing up!”

    ummmm…Creepy

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