If you think New Zealand’s bureaucracy is over the top, trust me, by Australian standards we’re mere apprentices.

Both in New Zealand and Australia the worst of bureaucratic busy-bodism is not at central government level but is a local government phenomenon.

My Sydney home in Australia’s most expensive suburban street has as a neighbour the city’s most expensive private girl’s school. It’s quite a spectacle watching chauffeured Rolls Royces and the like rolling up each morning delivering the school’s inmates.

The school has many acres of grounds with tennis courts and diverse buildings. This week I received a 5 page, highly detailed letter from the Council, inviting me, should I so wish, to make a submission on a school decision, specifically its wish to remove a tree, one of many in the grounds.

This is insanity. The cost to the school for the Council to send this to hundreds of locals is now A$30,000. I know as I went through the same palaver a dozen years back with some minor changes to my library, as if anyone gives a damn.

This Council obsession with trees also affects New Zealand. It’s infantile. Everyone loves trees but for a multitude of sound reasons, frequently there’s need to remove them.

My gardeners chop out lots each year and sin of sin, they’re natives. And why? Sometimes they’re crowding one another and on other occasions, to create a space and plant an expensively purchased four or five year old exotic to provide colour variety.

The worst local government excesses by a country mile lie with so-called safety issues and once again, Australia takes the cake. Unbelievable though it may seem, not long ago one of these buffoons turned up in our Sydney office and said any new tenancy must be approved by the Council, specifically the desk arrangements. Why? This in a 34 story office building with over 100 tenancies, to ensure that if the building is on fire, there’s room between desks for the occupants to escape.

Local government has always been an employment home for dullards, eager to think up new absurd rules to justify their bleak existences.


Every increase in bureaucracy reduces productivity and harms the poor by reducing employment opportunities. It benefits only paper pushers with useless university qualifications.

Meanwhile the lights go out, we have to import truck drivers and builders, we run out of pine framing and thousands of young men are unemployable.

I like this but of what I don’t know why the National Party has abandoned its founding principles. Perhaps, at John Key say, New Zealanders like socialism:


Perhaps never in the history of human misery have truer words ever been written than that final paragraph.

Local government does nothing more than empire build for the executive and middle management, with no accountability what so ever.

The elected members; who are effectively the board, for the most part have no clue on running a household let alone a city or district. The system no longer attracts the right people; like successful retired business people (prepared to give back to the community they have prospered), and its by design to protect the incompetence that exists. Look no further than the long stayers…

Until its bankrupted, it wont change. I’d start fixing it by limiting the term of office to not more than 6 years for the board and its executive. You might then attract the right people, or at least clean out the bad one’s every so often. I know everyone is sick of the bs they deliver.

Do us all a favour by organising a citizens referendum on the suggested changes for the next election Bob.

I had a district engineer email me and say that his staff had been too helpful and he would see that it would not happen again

All true. I once worked in a sales office with a chap who ran for a liberal seat in regional Victoria. He went on to become Mayor of the town. He became adamant that local government has nothing to do with elected councillors. Its all about the unelected “executives” or town clerks as he called them. He wasn’t complimentary of their ambitions.
The only defence he ever offered of any of them was that central government used to avoid unpopular decisions by pushing them downwards to local level and then walking away.
I still live in Victoria on a fair sized property encroaching a state forest. The rules about which trees I can remove is a labyrinth, with the council minotaur just waiting for me to slip up.

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