Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pork barrelling in local government elections

Lower Hutt Mayor David Ogden is offering free swims for seniors. My letter to the Hutt News;

Is David Ogden morphing into Winston Peters? His campaign promise of 'free' swimming for seniors sounds very nice but must be recognised for what it is. A vote-buyer. And politicians can only ever buy votes with somebody else's money. It's called pork-barrelling. Rife in central government, it is a shame to see it appear so unabashed in local government.

Mayor Ogden cloaks his vote-buying with the well-meaning intention of encouraging "healthier and more active lifestyles." Is that where we want local government to go? Using ratepayer's money to nanny them?

He says it is time to "invest in the people" . It is the individual's prerogative to decide for themselves what they want to invest their money in. There are probably far more elderly folk worrying about paying their rates than fretting over paying $4-50 for a swim in the local pool.

The worst of it is, his only opponent agrees. In fact Ray Wallace will no doubt soon be upping the ante. Those who want lower rates and a focus on core services are faced with choosing between the lesser of two evils.


Anonymous said...

Same thing is happening in Palmerston North. Mayor Jono Naylor is advocating free car parking for over 65's while at the same time implementing new technology designed to stiff the rest of us more.


Anonymous said...

Yea, the real problem with pork barrel politics in NZ is free swims for seniors, not the National government's infrastructure initiatives.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon, Pork barrelling is the problem. Period.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Free swims. Shock! Horror! What next? Parking meters turned off on a week day to encourage people to shop in Lower Hutt? Where will it all end?

Anonymous said...

It ends when venal meddlers take their hand out of my wallet and use their personal wealth philanthropically.

Ford Anglia.

Anonymous said...

So many libertarian types believe that if only the (local) government stops offering free swims to the oldies then their (libbers) lives would be so much better. Listen sunshine, if you can't make it under todays reasonably easy to do business conditions then you're not going to fare better in a country run by act types.