Wellington City Council

WCC Week Two: Let them eat flags, unhappy communities, Sean Rush still on the ropes, in defense of Lester

It’s been a rollicking second week for the new Council as they tackle the big issues like the Wellington Flag and what to have for lunch. Meanwhile, another community group activates around a touchy Council subject, the airport wanting to pave over paradise in the Eastern Suburbs. Lester’s favourite ex-staffer hits back at criticism and Sean Rush gets an F for his Climate Change musings.

Apparently, in the immortal words of Fred Dagg, “we don’t know how lucky we are.” That’s because clearly there are no serious issues to be dealt with in Wellington. We know this because the Council this week has been focussing on flags and sandwiches.

Never mind transport, the pesky climate emergency siren warbling in the background, housing issues, social problems, broken buses, and other things that are keeping the residents awake at night. Nope. It’s all good, let’s focus on flags and sandwiches.

Granted the flag is a bit shit but it did, once again, show up some of the Councillors for their naivete and propensity to shoot their mouth off before actually thinking things through.

The new mayor of Wellington and a councillor want to see the revival of the city’s flag and coat of arms around the city in order to foster “civic pride”.

However, others say the flag has fallen into disuse for a reason and it symbolises colonisation.

Time to revive the flag? No not that one – the Wellington one

Pannett, Fitzsimons, Day, and Calvert all had a crack in different ways at the flag and its colonial overtones. From what they said you’d assume they’d rather bury the past, than debate and redress it because that’s hard to do right? Possibly an ideal design for them would feature bicycles and the Extinction Rebellion logo with tsunamis from rising sea levels in the background.

While they are redesigning stuff that could have a look at the city logo as it seems an unfair fight between a lion and moa. I mean, everyone knows a moa is going to decimate a lion, so we should debate the connotations of that as well.

Putting all that aside, the flag is a bit shit. However, let’s not let Councillors design anything as based on previous experience it ends up in a debacle.

Reporters are running around reporting on big issues this week in an investigative piece that would make Robert Fisk tear his eyes out, the potential reinstatement of lunch for Councillors in meetings.

Councillors worked full days about two or three times a week, and lunch would be provided on those days.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster brings back catered councillor lunches

Well hell, so do I, and no one is buying me lunch.

Now, they are never going to be able to decide on what to have for lunch, so this is probably a storm in a teacup. The right-wingers are going to want to have a nice juicy steak soaked in oil and the left fake meat grown in a laboratory by a mad scientist. Bread is out, that is way to colonial, plus gluten-free people becoming poisoned. No sushi thanks, it’s probably irradiated thanks to Fukushima and no doubt not sustainably farmed.

We should immediately establish a working group to figure this significant issue out and perhaps even create another council-controlled organisation as well. WREDA is doing three parts of nothing; perhaps they’d be willing to take it on?

Anyway, as I write, the case has been closed and Big Issue resolved.

Wellington residents’ attitude must change if the city is to progress, a developer says. 

Developments in both Karori and Miramar are in the firing line from concerned residents, but director of The Wellington Company, Ian Cassels says without progress, the city would be “going backwards”.

In Karori, residents are concerned a new retirement village being built by Ryman Healthcare on a former teachers’ college campus will stress the suburb’s “creaking infrastructure”, and in Miramar a group of households have banded together to oppose Wellington Airport re-purposing the former Miramar South School grounds for extended operations. 

Big developments provoke opposition in Wellington’s suburbs

Yet another community group has activated over the issue with peninsula.nz popping up this week in opposition to the airport plans. Once again, none of the Councillors had anything to offer on either development, the Eastern Councillors remaining silent, status quo for the meekest Councillors in history. There is no consultation planned, other than the airport who are running their own consultation process, in what is known as “The Fox in the Henhouse Methodology.”

Sir Peter Jackson and James Cameron are expected to weigh in on the issue at any moment, given that the old Miramar South School is the current staff carpark for the film industry when production is underway — often filled with their catering trucks as well. We can expect a 7,000-word Facebook post any day now.

Sean Rush continued to get beaten up over his climate views.

Renwick, a professor and head of Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, where Rush is studying, sent Stuff a three-page response to Rush’s submission.

“While I am not particularly keen to argue in public like this, I find Sean’s submission distorted enough to warrant a response,” he said, attaching a point-by-point rebuttal.

Climate scientist rubbishes his student – Wellington councillor Sean Rush

Sean is not having a great start to his tenure at all. The issue won’t go away, and despite his protestations he’s being painted up by his opposition very early in the piece. God only knows why they are bothering; he’s been virtually invisible so far.

Meanwhile, Joseph Ramanos went into bat for his now ex-boss, Justin Lester, in an opinion piece in the Dominion Post.

OPINIONThe fading of a rising star – How Justin Lester lost the Wellington mayoralty (Nov 9) is a gross distortion of facts.

I was Justin’s chief of staff throughout his mayoralty, and saw close-up the leadership he provided Wellington at a difficult time. Much of this has been ignored or skipped over lightly by the writer, Rob Mitchell.

Lester tackled a host of difficult issues during his mayoralty

Romanos then listed off a few of the achievements he saw that Lester had carried out, including progressing the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme. I think we can all agree that LGWM is a complete mess, can’t we? Anyway, I’m not going to nit-pick this one to pieces; you can read it and make up your mind as to whether you think what is listed count as achievements, or otherwise.

On balance, not a great week for Council as the big issues are still not being debated and there has been little visible progress on that 100-day plan. There is also a notable dysfunction between Councillors already with many having opposed views on what are the simplest of issues.

Like what to have for lunch.

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