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.