I’ve always felt that radio talkback is a useful pressure relief valve in society. I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with some radio talkback people. Generally, the ones who could listen to a logical discussion. I like Chris Lynch, the current guy at Newstalk ZB. I had an on-off relationship with Mike Yardley. Sometimes I agreed with him, and often I didn’t.
However, over the years since he has become a columnist, I have often found Mike’s analysis of Local Body politics patchy. Sometimes he is spot on. Often, he’s wide of the mark. Too often he paints issues as black and white, when they are not anywhere that. Simplistic analysis does not assist a debate. It might seem clever; but it’s not useful. Dragging every red neck into the room to add heat, rather than light, to a discussion is not helpful for those seeking a solution to often complicated issues. Seeking the assistance of the wise, who can add value, is generally of great assistance in a debate over any issue. However, these people add value quietly and won’t swing off the rafters.
Last week in the Press, Mike’s analysis of the Mayoral campaign is way, way, off the mark. Here’s the article https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/114938707/gough-wont-contest-the-christchurch-mayoralty-this-year#comments.
Comments about an “English import” not of their choosing is just complete clap trap. The elected reps made a decision to advertise the CCC CEO position. Every Councillor voted for this, including Jamie Gough. The fact that Jamie jumped camp later in the process says more about him, than the process itself. When I was elected onto the Council there was a CEO in place. So what? That’s what happens. To make an issue about the new appointee and new Councillor’s having no say on her appointment is just life.
Mike then comments on “business smarts” of Darryl Park. It has been my experience that just because somebody is good at business does not make them good at public policy. Politics is an art form. It is the art of the possible. It’s about public policy; and getting it implemented. I’ve seen successful business people sit at the Council tables around this Country and totally fail. They often had great ideas. They failed when it came to needing the skill to convince others of the merits of their ideas, and then implementing them.
A good Mayor has to work with whoever the electors provide them as Councillors, and mould them into a team. A proper Council will caucus around issues, and people will sit alongside some people on some issues, and be completely opposed to them on another. That is politics. That’s why I love it.
Yes, it is essential that those sitting at the Council table have a good grasp of finance. Too many are hopeless at understanding basic financial matters. Yes, the executive must provide sensible and sound financial advice, in a transparent manner. However, I well recall saying to the executive of the Chamber of Commerce, when they were bellowing about some topic where they were convinced that we had things wrong, that if any of them had the sort of checks and balances which a Council has to weigh up often, they would go broke. Private sector business people often do not make the transition to public policy very well. It’s really, really, different.
Over the next few weeks we will put the spotlight on what are the real issues in the campaign leading up to the Local Body elections which will be declared on the second Saturday in October.