Monday, 9 June 2008

consensus politics

this bit of a very long herald article interested me:

The problem for the business sector, she admits, is that MMP has slowed down the process considerably, because of the need to get consensus for any piece of legislation. And knowing whom to lobby to free up blockages in the system can sometimes be quite complex.

the "she" in this case is mai chen, one of the top lobbyist in the country. in some ways, i agree with her. it can truly be frustrating trying to get a consensus across various political parties when you are trying to get action on a particular policy. one area where progress has definitely slowed down due to MMP is climate change policy. with parties flip-flopping all over the place for political gain, getting the consensus required to move forward is a real problem.

on the other hand, i'm glad that broader consensus is required for most issues. the MMP system is a protection against extremist policies, and it provides a buffer against powerful lobbyists trying to push through things that will actually make life worse for most of us.

i therefore had to laugh at phil o'reilly complaining:

And it's not just Telecom that feels it's been stomped on, he points out. The real estate industry, the building industry, the financial advice industry, and any businesses with an above-average carbon footprint are all reeling at present, he says.

telecom gave us the most expensive and most unreliable internet services imaginable, which hampered business development and growth, but he feels they're being stomped on? the deregulated building industry gave us leaky homes, which have cost taxpayers millions of dollars, because the builders/developers in question quickly liquidated their companies and were beyond reach in terms of legal action. to claim they shouldn't be regulated is laughable.

the financial advice industry - well, where shall i start! bridgecorp, five star finance, and about 16 other companies that have gone down the tubes in the last couple of years, losing millions of dollars. many people invested in these companies on the advice of financial advisors who, it turns out, were not giving independent advice. they were getting a commission for the funds they invested. they did not disclose to their clients that they were getting a commission, nor did they adequately advise their clients of the higher level of risk and the inadequate return to cover that risk, when investing in these companies. to suggest that such financial advisors should have no controls placed on their activities is ridiculous.

and businesses with an above-average carbon footprint are damaging our environment. they are creating a cost that they currently don't have to pay for, but someone has to pay. why shouldn't the polluter pay? if they don't, they will never change their processes to develop safer, environmentally processes.

it's bizarre that phil o'reilly is complaining about regulation that protects businesses, our "clean, green" brand, and the provision of effective infrastructure. if MMP prevents lobbyists from opposing what is good for the country, then i'm all for it.

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