Council has lost the faith of the public

September 18th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Michael Forbes at Stuff reports:

Wellingtonians are losing faith in the ability of the city council to make decisions in the best interest of the city.

Just 31 per cent of people who participated in the council’s own resident satisfaction survey this year felt the council was on top of things as a decision-making body.

Last year, that number was 55 per cent, and in 2010 – the last year of the previous council – it was 61 per cent.

That’s a huge drop off in confidence, and the current Mayor and Council have to take responsibility for this. In just three years they have had 30% of Wellingtonians lose faith in their ability to make decisions that are good for Wellington.

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22 Responses to “Council has lost the faith of the public”

  1. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    CWB is an utter mess. But I’m glad Kerry Prendergast was voted out because otherwise we could be well on the way to having a super city under permanent left-wing control as has happened in Auckland. An incompetent council is better than a council that is competent at doing the wrong thing.

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  2. sthn.jeff (100 comments) says:

    The real problem is they just never seem to make ANY decision, good bad or otherwise!

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  3. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    I wonder if the pedal-pushing mayor saying she has no idea what’s going on, is part of the reason for this?

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  4. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    The problem is the voting power of non-ratepayers. If one took the time to check who installed losers, it will stem back to those that don’t do any paying. If ratepayers only, had voting rights in local body elections, these namby pamby lefties would not get elected. They invariably display fiscal irresponsibility, detest commerce, and crawl to PSA indoctrinated supporters. Time for a change of direction for all councils, a repeal of all Palmer’s RMA legislation, and a guideline of their councils to operate within. It is not ratepayers responsibility to supply housing, jobs, social agendas, etc., it is Central Government’s.

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  5. Bill Ted (60 comments) says:

    Come on RRM, it’s not her fault she lost track of what a steering wheel looks like. Have to admit, Len looks like a genius in comparison…

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  6. MT_Tinman (2,797 comments) says:

    Talking to Wellingtonians and reading the comments of them on various blogs I’m surprised 31% think the council is competent.

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  7. Prince (82 comments) says:

    We did not positively vote our current mayor in last election. The incumbent (Prendergast) was ahead on ‘first preferences’. The result reflected the fact that more people did not want her back, so it is not surprising that the new mayor (Wade-B) does not have the confidence of the majority. We didn’t want her in the first place.

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  8. leftyliberal (634 comments) says:

    “Martin Rodgers, the council’s manager of research, consultation and planning, said most of the drop in satisfaction could be explained by the council conducting the survey online rather than over the phone this year.

    People tended to give less politically correct answers when there was no human interaction, he said.”

    Two surveys conducted using different methods are not directly comparable. DPF knows this, but fomenting happy mischief is the tagline.

    Nonetheless, one hopes that this inspires improved performance.

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  9. leftyliberal (634 comments) says:

    @Ian McK: “The problem is the voting power of non-ratepayers.”

    There’s very few people with voting power that don’t contribute to rates, so I don’t see that this would make any difference at all.

    Or are you implying that landlords are fiscally irresponsible and don’t recover rates through rent?

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  10. Redbaiter (6,483 comments) says:

    “Or are you implying that landlords are fiscally irresponsible and don’t recover rates through rent?”

    Who cares?

    Time you commies fronted up with some real dollars or you need to be excluded from the decision making process. Not only at council level but at Central level government too.

    With no skin in the game yourself you just keep voting for more and more handouts.

    Fuck that. Either chip in or ship out.

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  11. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    Leftyliberal, sure tenants contribute to rates, but for domestic tenants almost all would do so indirectly, as an integral part of the rent. Thus when higher rates forces rents up, the tenants almost never say “bloody council pushing up costs….”, but rather “greedy scumbag landlords pushing up prices….” and go on to expect even more “free” handouts from council. Attitudes would change if they paid rent plus rates even if the total paid was the same, they would feel directly exposed to the increases and generally they would see the council as being paid for by them and not by others.

    As for the change in survey method, to me the implication is that the face to face survey significantly under-estimates dissatisfaction because people “dial back” the disapproval in a face to face situation. That implies that the presence of the survey person inhibits free criticism. That’s not to say that on line criticism can’t be a bit over the top, KB is a perfect example of that !

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  12. hane (59 comments) says:

    Absolutely agree. 1 house should equal 1 vote. If you own 100 houses you should get 100 votes.

    At a national level it should be 1 vote per $20,000 of income. You wouldn’t let the janitor have a say on how a company is managed and run, parliament should be the same.

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  13. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    leftyliberal, Ed Snack beat to me to it, but the short answer is: no, landlords don’t directly recover rates from rent.

    Rent is set by the market, rates are set by council. A real life example: rent increase over five years 15%; rates increase over the same period 55%. Also, in the last 12 months insurance costs have almost doubled. If your rental property is mortgaged, you’re at the mercy of interest rates as well. Maintenance costs vary from year to year; some years net income may be zero or negative. So are you suggesting that rents should be cost-plus? (Not a bad idea actually).

    So why own rentals? Because it’s one of the few forms of investment that keeps pace (roughly) with inflation, ie capital gain over time. If that stops, or if CGT is introduced, you’ll see both a massive increase in rents coupled with an exit from the market by landlords, because current rental income on its own simply does not generate adequate yield.

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  14. swan (651 comments) says:

    leftyliberal (560) Says:
    “September 18th, 2013 at 3:09 pm
    @Ian McK: “The problem is the voting power of non-ratepayers.”

    There’s very few people with voting power that don’t contribute to rates, so I don’t see that this would make any difference at all.

    Or are you implying that landlords are fiscally irresponsible and don’t recover rates through rent?”

    lefty,

    It would be good if land lords could enter contracts with their tenants to allow the tenants to pay rates directly, and thereby pass the risk of rate rises on to the tenant. Unfortunately the law prevents this freedom, for some reason.

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  15. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    “It would be good if land lords could enter contracts with their tenants to allow the tenants to pay rates directly, and thereby pass the risk of rate rises on to the tenant. Unfortunately the law prevents this freedom, for some reason.”

    Another anomaly is water rates – these must be in the landlord’s name and furthermore the landlord must pay the fixed portion (which recently doubled in Auckland).

    swan, the problem with that approach (while great in principle) is recovery. Rates typically equate to about one month’s rent, which if paid in one hit might stretch the tenant. I suppose the weekly rent could have a fixed component based on the previous year’s rates with an annual washup, but it could get messy.

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  16. leftyliberal (634 comments) says:

    @jonno1: I don’t see why a 55% increase in rates wouldn’t correspond with a 15% increase in rent. After all, the rates bill is just a small portion of the expense of maintaining a rental property, and if other expenses don’t increase at the same rate, the 15% in rent might quite happily recover rates. (e.g. an increase of 55% of on a rates bill that was previously $2k corresponds to $21/week, which would likely be less than 15%).

    I do agree that the contribution of tenants is indirect, and thus there might be a lower chance that tenants would be proactive in seeking the fiscal responsibility of council. I don’t see why they should be excluded for that reason alone, however. Plenty of ratepayers don’t take an interest in local body elections, and plenty more appear to vote on name recognition more than anything else, as can be seen with the low turnover rates of mayors and councillors.

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  17. freemark (324 comments) says:

    Gain votes for tax paid, lose them for antisocial/criminal behaviour. Simple.

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  18. Nicola Young (3 comments) says:

    WCC’s dithering and flip-flops have contributed towards the city’s lack of faith. Too many councillors have been there too long, including Wade Brown & Morrison (15 years each). Council needs change, fresh energy, new ideas, a strong mayor… and a by-law introducing term limits, as 12 years is long enough.

    Also need to stop the councillors’ double-dipping: getting additional salaries of $18k for being on Council Controlled Organisations…we’d be outraged if Cabinet Ministers appointed each other to lucrative appointments on Government boards. Current Council has agreed double-dipping will end at the elections; and also agreed that the new Council may wish to rescind that decision. So no decision at all!

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  19. Johnboy (13,439 comments) says:

    Wet old ladies (even if they call themselves Young) hardly seem to be the answer to Wellytowns woes. :)

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  20. big bruv (12,388 comments) says:

    “At a national level it should be 1 vote per $20,000 of income”

    Nope, voting at the national level should be for those who pay tax. Anybody on the dole or the DPB should be denied the right to vote.

    Why the fuck should parasites have a say in how my money is spent?

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  21. chris (460 comments) says:

    I think the person who occupies the house should be responsible for rates and water (I wasn’t aware until a post above that water rates are payable by the landlord – is that true?) as well as the usual power and gas etc. I’m pretty sure with commercial leases the tenant pays the rates (correct me if I’m wrong), so why should it be any different with residential tenants? I know there can be collection issues, and ultimately the responsibility of rates is with the property, but again, commercial tenants pay the rates, so is there a good reason residential tenants shouldn’t?

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  22. UrbanNeocolonialist (136 comments) says:

    Everyone should get a vote with weighting in proportion to how much tax they have paid over the previous electoral term, as assessed by IRD. Easy to calculate these days and would halt the left wing drive to power through creating more beneficiaries and instead bring in more fiscally prudent growth focused government. No representation without taxation.

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