Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Local Government Candidates, Part II

Environment Canterbury

The heat has gone out of the contest for ECan seats due to the death of Idiot Neil Cherry. Under his baleful influence, ECan was stooping to nonsense such as proposing a ban on all wood-burners and suggesting that in the future people dob in their neighbours who use such evil things. Things got so bad that I had to vote for a Green because he dared to suggest that clever technology could allow wood-burners to be used in Christchurch (he failed to get in and I have sadly repressed all knowledge of his name).

Now Kerry Burke has taken power and some sanity has prevailed. I suspect that having shared a room (and more) with Helen Paske makes it impossible for him to do Chicken-little Acts about Christchurch's smog.

Since I'm in Christchurch West, the candidates are Neil Andrews, Alec Neill (sitting), Karen Romayne and Nicky Wagner (sitting). Both sitting councillors are Nats and I'll probably vote for them although I suspect that Alec may go back to Parliament in the next election.

Canterbury District Health Board

Jesus. Twenty-nine candidates. I didn't vote for the health board the last time around because the sheer number of names made it impossible for me to seperate the wheat from the chaff. As it so happened, the whole thing was a lottery and a circus. Things have improved slightly and we also have the performance of the Health Board candidates over the last term to review. Except we don't as the council members are under a gag rule, which means that only the unelected head, Syd Bradley, can talk to the media. Now in his struggles with Ross Armstrong, Syd revealed himself as a competent and decent chappie but a democracy can hardly function if the performance of sitting health board members can't be reviewed. So either Annette should force the Canterbury DHB to open up or she should just abolish the bloody thing.

Looking at the names, only four health board members are standing again. Philip Bragshaw quit in a fit of pique for as a prominent surgeon with tussles galore with the management, he had to leave half the meetings due to conflict of interest. So a good rule of the thumb is not to vote for health professionals. David Morrell, the former City Missioner, is undoubtedly a worthy but the gag rule means I can't assess his performance. Robin Booth I know as a prat from his time in the Council while Alison Wilke is just useless. She ran twice against Gerry Brownlee in the Ilam electorate and showed herself as a completely ineffectual campaigner. Of the other names, I can recognize only Neville Bennett, a historian and media commentator, as someone worthy of a vote. One down, six to go...