Alf is bewildered this morning by news that –
Associate Local Government Minister John Carter is denying doing favours for a constituent after claims a clause was secretly inserted in legislation allowing a Northland man to build a boat ramp on public land.
A clause secretly inserted?
What chance would you have of sneaking a “secret clause” past 120 or so eagle-eyed Parliamentarians?
On second thoughts, forget that question. Let’s take a different tack.
Why would an MP want to deny trying to do a favour for a constituent?
Anyway, Carter did not slip the so-called secret clause into the bill.
The change was made by a select committee after Mr Carter advocated for boatbuilder Doug Schmuck, whose bid to use the Opua land had previously been embroiled in a $600,000 legal wrangle.
So the story gets better. A “secret” clause was slipped into the bill by a select committee, which – when Alf last looked – comprised MPs of all stripes.
What a load of bollocks.
The story goes on –
Mr Carter, who is also minister of Civil Defence, Racing and Senior Citizens, said he was not present at the select committee hearing when the change was made. But he admitted the committee had acted on advice “that probably wasn’t as fulsome as it could have been” and said he was seeking to have the clause amended to a more general one.
He stood by his decision to help Mr Schmuck, however, saying the wrangle over the land was a waste of taxpayer money.
And so he should have helped this fellow, even though he is a Schmuck. It’s our job to help our constituents.
Alf would have done the same.
And it sure sounds like the constituent was having a hard time.
In a submission to the select committee in September 2007 he detailed his battle over the slipway and described the Conservation Department as the “evil empire of red tape” after a decade-long battle over the slipway.
There had been seven publicly notified applications related to the case, five Environment Court hearings and two district court cases.
What should you be able to do in our democracy, when you are up against obstinate bureaucrats?
Yep. You should be able to go to your MP, who – if he/she is any bloody good – will go out and bat for you.
Which is exactly what John Carter has done.
So who blew the whistle on the so-called “secret” clause?
Yep. The bloody Greens.
… the select committee decision has outraged the Green Party, which lodged a formal complaint that it had brought Parliament into disrepute.
Co-leader Russel Norman said there had been no opportunity for locals to make submissions against the proposal because the law change had never been publicised.
Mr Carter advocated for Mr Schmuck, a constituent in his Northland electorate, to have clauses inserted in the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill allowing the boatbuilder use of public land.
Further down in the report at Stuff, we learn
Mr Carter said he would not apologise for helping a constituent.
“Doug has been frustrated by people who have a different agenda and so the way that we have moved it forward in a bid to save taxpayer money and to represent him is to allow this clause.”
He labelled Mr Schmuck’s opponents “pedantic”.
“I’ve had enough of it, I want some common sense and that’s exactly what we’re going to get.”
He did not know how many people were opposed to the boat ramp.
“I think I have done my job on behalf of a constituent as he would expect me to.”
Carter is quite right not to say sorry. We’ve had enough apologies from our northern MPs for now, and in this case he was simply helping a citizen.
The bloody Greens wouldn’t know about an MP’s duty towards electorate constituents, of course.
The buggers didn’t win any seats at the last election and are in the House, stirring shit, simply because a certain percentage of Kiwis were dim-witted enough to cast votes for the mealy-mouthed muesli munchers.
How about an apology from those voters, eh?