GDC promoting identity politics?

Clive Bibby

COLUMN

I was watching a US cable news channel discussion recently that was exploring the likely outcome of the left wing presidential candidates’ proposal to do away with private health care insurance altogether.

I was impressed by one inspired comment from a contributor to the panel discussion, who said: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is free!”

In other words, “Be careful what you wish for!”

We can follow that sound advice when considering the recent GDC vote to seek another review of the representation formula that operates in this region three years from now, despite having received a stunning rebuttal at the hands of the government agency that is charged with ruling on this matter at intervals usually no more frequent than six years.

Talk about tigers for punishment!

It is interesting to note that previous reviews have almost always come down in favour of retaining the “status quo” because, in the eyes of the commission, the existing representation balance (numbers of councillors) servicing rural and urban communities has proved to be the best way of delivering democracy to the various special interest groups who contribute independently to a common cause — ie the best outcomes for all, no matter what the issue.

In that context, it appears that the councillors who recently voted in favour of a review in only three years have been exposed as self-serving hypocrites acting against the oath they like to proclaim as the basis for their philosophy about service to the whole community. And for what?!

Don’t the city ward councillors already have the numbers whenever they want to dictate a specific outcome? Yet they seem hell-bent on pitting our two main constituencies against each other in a needless battle over the future prospects of only one.

They clearly have no idea of the requirements of the office they hold, let alone an understanding of the complex factors that contribute to the wellbeing of every resident in this region. They have shown that they have neither the wit to understand the differences between the special needs of communities within our region, or the leadership qualities required to maintain effective co-operation between the disparate groups.

Yet they expect the voters to entrust their futures to a group who have clearly shown their contempt for many of the citizens under their care. They should go!

They have also proved to be poor losers!

I can’t understand why they should exhaust so much capital trying to overturn a ruling made by an independent authority that includes people appointed to the job because of their discerning abilities.

That authority has already rejected every alternative method proposed, not once but many times — including the one put forward by the appellants that had gone some considerable way to placate the councillors who were tossing their toys out of the cot.

Perhaps those individuals think we will all be living in Gisborne in three years time and there will be no rural sector to represent. You can only guess at the rationale behind their muddled thinking. Perhaps I’m being too charitable.

However, no matter what their motivation, they will probably be as successful as last time simply because their tactics will be seen for what they are — another version of the current scourge of modern society’s social fabric, “identity politics” or “them and us”!

It reeks of arrogance and we should have none of it. Away with them.

We need unity, not division. So my suggestion is that at the next election, we vote for candidates who are committed to delivering just that.

I was watching a US cable news channel discussion recently that was exploring the likely outcome of the left wing presidential candidates’ proposal to do away with private health care insurance altogether.

I was impressed by one inspired comment from a contributor to the panel discussion, who said: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is free!”

In other words, “Be careful what you wish for!”

We can follow that sound advice when considering the recent GDC vote to seek another review of the representation formula that operates in this region three years from now, despite having received a stunning rebuttal at the hands of the government agency that is charged with ruling on this matter at intervals usually no more frequent than six years.

Talk about tigers for punishment!

It is interesting to note that previous reviews have almost always come down in favour of retaining the “status quo” because, in the eyes of the commission, the existing representation balance (numbers of councillors) servicing rural and urban communities has proved to be the best way of delivering democracy to the various special interest groups who contribute independently to a common cause — ie the best outcomes for all, no matter what the issue.

In that context, it appears that the councillors who recently voted in favour of a review in only three years have been exposed as self-serving hypocrites acting against the oath they like to proclaim as the basis for their philosophy about service to the whole community. And for what?!

Don’t the city ward councillors already have the numbers whenever they want to dictate a specific outcome? Yet they seem hell-bent on pitting our two main constituencies against each other in a needless battle over the future prospects of only one.

They clearly have no idea of the requirements of the office they hold, let alone an understanding of the complex factors that contribute to the wellbeing of every resident in this region. They have shown that they have neither the wit to understand the differences between the special needs of communities within our region, or the leadership qualities required to maintain effective co-operation between the disparate groups.

Yet they expect the voters to entrust their futures to a group who have clearly shown their contempt for many of the citizens under their care. They should go!

They have also proved to be poor losers!

I can’t understand why they should exhaust so much capital trying to overturn a ruling made by an independent authority that includes people appointed to the job because of their discerning abilities.

That authority has already rejected every alternative method proposed, not once but many times — including the one put forward by the appellants that had gone some considerable way to placate the councillors who were tossing their toys out of the cot.

Perhaps those individuals think we will all be living in Gisborne in three years time and there will be no rural sector to represent. You can only guess at the rationale behind their muddled thinking. Perhaps I’m being too charitable.

However, no matter what their motivation, they will probably be as successful as last time simply because their tactics will be seen for what they are — another version of the current scourge of modern society’s social fabric, “identity politics” or “them and us”!

It reeks of arrogance and we should have none of it. Away with them.

We need unity, not division. So my suggestion is that at the next election, we vote for candidates who are committed to delivering just that.

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Manu Caddie - 5 days ago
On Friday 15 March in your newspaper column Clive Bibby attacks what he sees as "another version of the current scourge of modern society's social fabric, 'identity politics' " - it's a popular refrain from right-wing commentators and I guess when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

Clive's rhetoric about the need for unity, not division, is based on the same arguments that the One Australia Party and closer to home "Hobson's Pledge" promote under the guise of inclusion, when what they really want is for difference to be deleted and efforts towards equity to be eliminated.

Critics of identity politics hark back to the good old days when "we were colour-blind" and conveniently dismiss the reality that what they really feel challenged by is giving up the privileged position that their culture, language, gender, ethnicity and/or sexual orientation has enjoyed for so long in our society.

The day before Clive's column you ran another piece by Alwyn Poole imploring educators and parents to "bin" the concept of equity in favour of his own patronising view of what will be best for Maori and Pasifika students. His column is the first thing that deserves to be binned.

Bigots live in fear of the people they look down on because they imagine that should "the other" gain sufficient power then the privileged traditions and values of those who have been in control for generations might be treated as badly as they have treated others.

The real scourge of modern society's social fabric is privilege and its inability to share power. Patriarchal, homophobic, white supremacy is not always manifest down the barrel of a gun, it resides in many of us and is given life every time we laugh at a joke, allow policies that entrench inequality to go unchallenged or don't stand up when we see others identity being diminished or rendered invisible. This is the politics of identity that most people in our community don't have the luxury of ignoring let alone criticising.

Clive Bibby - 4 days ago
Wrong again Manu.
If you read my column in its entirety, which I invite you to do, you will note that it is the city councillors who are wanting to eliminate "difference!" in the form of those special interest groups who have all the characteristics that you mention as worthy of consideration, living near you yet needing special representation. They might even have views totally opposed to mine yet it is still their right to be heard.
That is what the commission has said in its ruling. How does that make me a bigot?
Oh I get it, you're pissed off because they have rejected your idea of community boards that would have allowed you a platform for expressing your own version of bigotry. Sorry, but it won't work next time either.
Nice try.
Nga mihi
Clive

Manu Caddie - 4 days ago
Sorry Clive but my response has nothing to do with the petty politics of local body structures - what I take issue with is your statement: "the current scourge of modern society's social fabric, 'identity politics'". You criticise the politics of identity across our society - not the composition of our local government. Your phrase mirrors those used by conservative commentators around the world to criticise minority groups daring to assert their rights and responsibilities, especially in societies dominated by male, pale and stale elites. If you're going to preach the politics of fear, then at least own it.

Clive Bibby - 4 days ago
Well I'm not and so I don't.
I'm sure you know in your heart that I've never hitched my wagon to their horses.
Never felt the need to. I'm perfectly happy to stand by my own thoughts which have little in common with that dogma.
It is utterly disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise.
But I'm not bothered what you think of me.
Did you read my other article? Worth a look if you are genuinely seeking the truth.
Cheers

Manu Caddie - 4 days ago
Clive, if you haven't 'hitched your wagon' to the far right and their rhetoric, please explain again what exactly you mean when you suggest the current "scourge of modern society's social fabric" is "identity politics" - because all the criticism, including claiming identity politics is a "scourge" on society, comes from personalities on the extreme right who don't like appealing to people on the basis of a shared identity, such as race, gender or sexual orientation; reducing politics to individual experience; or, at times, just diversity and difference.

Clive Bibby - 3 days ago
Hoist by your own petard Manu.
Your attempts to associate me with the group you claim represents the section of our society that supports oppression of minorities is typical of your own history of identity politics - societies dominated by "male, pale and stale elites" is a typical refrain in response to people like me who are genuinely trying to help the minorities you speak of.
Another term included in your repertoire is to damn me and others by suggesting we exist from a position of privilege.
If you believe that being born white and male in this country automatically establishes one as a privileged individual then you don't know anything about my background or how I have spent the past 40 years here on the Coast trying to share the fruits of my labours with others who need the help. Any position I have in society is as a result of sheer hard work. When I arrived here in 1980, I started with nothing except a huge mortgage, very little else!
You call that privilege!
Take your hatred and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. You are beyond help.

Manu Caddie - 3 days ago
Thank you for all you've done to help the poor, wretched minorities of the region - you are a great and kind man. I'm so sorry for ever questioning your infinite wisdom and pure heart. Please forgive me master.

Clive Bibby - 2 days ago
Never done it for thanks Manu - from you or anybody else. I've always regarded it as a responsibility to my fellow man. We don't always get it right but we do make the effort.
Never been accused of being great, kind or wise though.
Most people just accept it for what it is and seem to be grateful so no need to bother yourself about me getting credit where it isn't due.
If that was my purpose, they wouldn't want to know me. Seems to work.



winston moreton - 2 days ago
Manu Caddie's argument remains valid. No one could have predicted a status quo result from the LGC given past performances by that politically appointed group. It has been pushing 'down size and amalgamate' for the past 30 years. Your proposal gave the region the next best position. To wit; formal organised representation in communities with local common interests and a 'clearing-house-overseeing' council. In the event the LGC decision protects the rural voice; I support that, as will our long-serving local MP.