2013? What will it give and mean for Auckland
2013 is when Auckland (and the rest of the nation) go to the polls to elect our: mayors, councillors, local board representatives and a few other things like District Health Boards.
For Auckland more specifically, we will be electing for the second time our Super Mayor and fellow councillors for the Super City. While it is a bit premature to look at the first term of the Super City under Mayor Len Brown and the left-wing dominated Auckland Council, I thought it might be an idea to look ahead to the next round and what could be on offer.
Essentially (and more to the point) realistically when it comes to electing the Mayor and Councillors we have four options to choose from with maybe two fringe options that often come about from time to time. These four options are based on The Political Compass “test” and theory of our true (expanded) political systems and ideologies. What The Political Compass says about our tradition and simplistic Left/Right views is true – so take a read and take the test on where you sit. I will tell where I sit on The Compass at the bottom of the post with a follow-up from a Wikipedia link.
So what are the four realistic and two fringe options we Aucklander’s have when electing our mayor and council – and where would potential incumbents and candidates stand on those 6 options. Well lets take a look.
Starting with the four realistic (often mainstream) options – we have:
- Social Liberals (Left Wing)
- Social Conservatives (Also Left Wing)
- Neo Liberals (Right Wing)
- Neo Conservatives (Again also right-wing)
The two fringe options – we have:
- Libertarian (ultra liberals)
- Totalitarian and/or Fascism (ultra conservatives)
Doing your head in? Lets get some Wikipedia into here
Social liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding civil rights. Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual. Social liberal policies have been widely adopted in much of the capitalist world, particularly followingWorld War II. Social liberal ideas and parties tend to be considered centrist or centre-left.
Social conservatism is a political, and usually morally influenced, ideology that focuses on the preservation of what are seen as traditional values. Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the national government, or the state, should have a greater role in the social and moral affairs of its citizens, generally supporting whatever it sees as morally correct choices and discouraging or outright forbidding those it considers morally wrong ones. In the United States during the mid to late 20th century, the notion of preserving traditional values was seen by many social conservatives as an ideal that had been gradually eroded by a number of federal legislative passages and US Supreme Court decisions, the result of which led to a shift in mainstream social conservatism that involved an increase in grassroots activism and lobbying efforts in an attempt to preserve traditional values at the federal level. This ideology typically saw social change as suspicious, and believed in returning what were referred to as fundamental values
Neoliberalism is a contemporary form of economic liberalism that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets to promote globalization. Neoliberals therefore seek to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the world.
Neoconservatism is a variant of the political ideology of conservatism which combines features of traditional conservatism with political individualism and a qualified endorsement of free markets. Neoconservatism (or new conservatives) is rooted in a group of former liberals, who in the late 1960s, began to oppose many of the policies and principles associated with President Lyndon Johnson‘s Great Society programs. The term “neoconservative” was initially used in the 1930s to describe American liberals who criticized other liberals who followed a path closer to Soviet communism
Libertarianism is one of a variety of political ideologies that holds that the modernist project is fulfilled by individual dominance over the state formation. This may be a moderate solution where the state formation exists, or an absolutist formation where the state no longer exists. Alongside the statist and anti-statist conceptions, it may be an ideology where private property finds its perfection, or where private property is abolished.
Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Woodcock, an intellectual historian of anarchism, defines libertarianism as a critical individualist social philosophy, aimed at transforming society by reform or revolution, that fundamentally doubts authority
You can both look those up on Wikipedia
So how does this fit all into electing our Mayor and Councillors (and Local Boards to a very limiting effect) – well it goes something like this.
Auckland has been and is even more so quite split along ideological lines when it comes to electing our representatives and mayor to The Council – more so then when we often elect our national Parliament, although ideology sentiment seems to be returning to our central politics. Right now on the current Auckland Council we have a socially conservative mayor with more or less domination by socially liberal Councillors (Deputy Mayor Hulse and Cllr Cassy as an example). We do have a socially conservative councillor or two as well (Cllr. Mike Lee comes to mind). We do have in the minority a lean towards neo conservative Councillors (Cllr’s Wood and Brewer for example) and maybe the odd neo-liberal (please let me know if I am wrong there and I will be happily to correct it). If you take a look at the mayor’s and each individual councillor’s voting and opinion patterns over the current term you should be able to find which of the four “points” each of councillor sits.
So again how does this effect us 2013?
Well as I said earlier – we get to elect our second Super Mayor and Auckland Council. Many Aucklander’s will use it as an acceptance or rejection tool of the policies of Mayor Brown and his council supports (the left), while political commentators (we never seem to be short on those) will use it to evaluate the first term of Auckland Council and take a pot-shot guess on what the second term will hold. Also with The Auckland Plan and first Long Term Plan being in effect come 2013 – the election will be a gauge of whether we (Auckland ratepayers per se) “accept” The Auckland Plan and Long Term Plan (which both get finalised and “validated” this year) or utterly reject it as failure.
If you watch the current debate on The Draft Auckland Plan and The Draft Long Term Plan you can (or should be able to see) the clear political divide on Auckland Council on which way both plans will go (refer to The political points above to give an indication).
Thus using the four mainstream points – I will try to frame which way a candidate will swing in supporting The Auckland and Long Term Plans – especially when candidates gun for your vote (remembering we might not have all four points of the compass utilised from candidates – especially if the mayoral race becomes a two-horse race (which the media love)). Oh this might be simplistic – but most of us vote and think when voting along simplistic ways – not everyone is a political buff 😀
A Social Liberal Candidate
Being of the left, Social Liberals are more likely to support the collective over the individual as a higher priority. Economics wise social liberals are likely to spend your rate payers dollars on capital projects that support the collective. This usually means public transport over roading (per se), large community centres like pools and libraries, community type things like theatres and large-scale parks, shy away from user-pays systems like rubbish and libraries, and will support welfare initiatives such as Council Housing. Social Liberals will also see (for the public good) things like the Port of Auckland being in “public hands” (entirely council owned) as can suspicious of the private sector although minority shareholdings are more tolerable than Social Conservatives would allow.
Values wise: social liberals are tolerant to most things within reason and are easily adaptable to change. Theoretically things like brothels and booze outlet locations (or even being allowed in the first place) would not bother them. Being liberal they are more like to rehabilitate then punish offenders.
Political and rights wise Social Liberals can be individualistic – but as a rule of thumb they support the collective first. In Auckland’s terms that means Heritage Houses are protected even though that can impinge on the property rights of the owner. However Social Liberals if they were true social liberals – would allow the continuation in the freedom of the individual which includes their basic property rights (allowing to do whatever on their own land (within reason). However being of the left, Social Liberals in the name of “Common Good” will use “state” redistribution of wealth, goods and services and that is where impingement on the individual could happen. In saying that though if we use The Draft Auckland Plan and Draft Long Term Plan as an example; social liberals would focus on things like public transport, community type things and using ratepayers dollars to help fund Council Housing, homeless shelters and maybe hold minority stakes in infrastructure such as ports and airports. The belief behind that is that social liberals allow the private sector and market to operate but have the regulation and safety net there to take the sharpest edges off the free market and catch those who are downtrodden and need a hand. Social Liberals if true to their word would not support the 75:25 development ration and allow a softer RUB (the right would eliminate both) so that the private sector can operate more freely (property rights prevail) – but there is a slight moderator so things do not run away (like a nuclear reactor or a total free for all). Any candidates claiming social liberal you should check against the definition of social liberals – the western world per se has been operating on a Social Liberal bent since 1945 to around the neo liberal era beginning 1987. So for most – you have experienced it.
So which candidate is a social liberal.
Social Liberals believe in theory a medium or moderate government.
A Social Conservative Candidate
Being of the left also, Social Liberals are more likely to support the collective over the individual as a more TOTAL priority. Economics wise social conservatives are likely to spend your rate payers dollars on capital projects that support the collective. This usually means public transport over roading (per se), large community centres like pools and libraries, community type things like theatres and large-scale parks, shy away from user-pays systems like rubbish and libraries, and will support welfare initiatives such as Council Housing. Social Conservatives will also see (for the public good) things like the Port of Auckland being in “public hands” (entirely council owned) as they are suspicious of the private sector (more so than social liberals).
Values wise like Neo Conservatives, social conservatives are more authoritarian and suspicious of “change.” Social Con’s again like their neo con’s support tradition values and will regulate activities they seem offensive – such as booze stores, brothels and to a degree the Occupy Movement. However the difference between a social and neo con is basically on what their economics are – social wise they are the exact same. Fascism and Totalitarian are the ultra forms of social conservatism.
With things like property rights, social conservatives will regulate what an individual private property owner can do with their capital and land – this often mean either a crap load of paper work and hurdle jumping to do something simple as building a deck on your property or complex as a housing sub division. Social conservatives will often “enforce” their way of doing something – something you can see in The Draft Auckland Plan through the strict Rural Urban Boundary that will strictly enforce city urban limits, as well as the 75:25 Brownfield:Greenfield development ratio.
Social Conservatives will punish rather than rehabilitate or “compromise” unlike Social Liberals.
Social Conservatives believe in big government.
So which candidates would fall into the Social Con box?
A Neo Liberal Candidate
Social wise – neo liberals practice the Individual Freedom, Choice and Responsibility (National Party Motto) rationale that dictates the individual is of higher priority than the collective (opposite to the Social Liberal). Effectively you are free to do as you chose and want (within reason) as long as you bear basically responsibilities (such as punishment for yelling BOMB in Britomart Train Station). Neo Liberals believe that your individual conscience would assist those in need (private charity) rather than having the state either doing it or telling you to do it for you.
Economics wise the neo liberal allows for unfettered enterprise, the free market and the invisible hand to guide course and actions of individuals, businesses, governments and their transactions. Neo Liberals in the strictest sense again allow for private charity more than social charity that social liberals believe in. With Neo Liberals focusing on the individual over the collective, as well as the free market; Neo Lib’s would focus on reducing spending the operation of the “state” to basic levels – effectively rates, rubbish (although that even can be contracted out), roads (“cover” capital projects for core infrastructure) – with everything else provided for mainly by the private sector (public transport, theatre, pools and libraries) under a user pays or private sponsorship system
Property Rights wise, neo liberals believe the state should not interfere in one’s private property rights and that an individuals conscience along with the market would “regulate” the individuals actions upon their private property and land. Auckland Plan wise – the entire Plan would be chucked and a new one written with no Brownfield:Greenfield ratios and no Rural Urban Boundaries. The free market and individual conscious would dictate development for the city rather than centralised central city planners and councillors.
Neo Liberals believe in small limited government.
Neo Con’s in NZ are funny – in the USA the Neo Con’s like big government and some good old fashion totalitarianism (The Bush years of 2000-2008). However Neo Con’s here believe in the neo liberal prescription in economics and small limited government but are the exact same as social conservatives in the social values department which means big government.
Property Rights presents a really humdinger to the points of contradiction. Our Neo Con’s believe in freedom and property rights but unlike neo and social liberals they will regulate which often runs against freedom of property rights. In theory a Social and Neo Lib would allow development to occur and places such as booze and brothel outlets to set up more freely than a conservative would. However that can be explained by Demerit Goods and Consumer Sovereignty – effectively put if the good or service is deemed bad for society which booze and sex for money is deemed to be (so a demerit good) then Consumer Sovereignty is thus removed for those demerit activities and thus regulated. So free market, fiscal prudence and pro property rights one side, but regulation on the other when the good or service is deemed a demerit good therefore consumer sovereignty has to be removed rather than allowing the free market to remove it.
Auckland Plan and Long Term Plan wise – cross between a social and neo liberal. Neo Cons would more likely go for the soft RUB and 50:50 development ratio, while regulating certain activities such as sex and booze; then advocate the “rates, roads, rubbish” persona of the neo liberal for small and fiscally prudent governance.
So who are our Neo Conservatives?
For our two fringe options – I might cover them at a later date
Although you can check out a pitch on the Libertarian front here at LIBERATENZ
Time for you to take the test and see where you land – then when the candidates come forward for you vote measure their “policies” against your “beliefs” per the political compass so you can vote for your “right” candidate to represent you. Candidates should take the test as well to see where they stack up and assist us voters of where they lie economically and socially.
2013 will be a closely watched and fought race – the question is who deserves your ticks on the ballot paper.
Where do I sit – I will cover that in my next post on 2013.