Councillor critical of bureaucracy and politicisation

A long serving councillor has announced that he won’t stand again this year, but has blasted growing council bureaucracy, and the politicisation of councils.

His criticisms apply across the country.

ODT: Council role loses lustre for some

Long-serving Dunedin city councillor John Bezett has fired parting shots at the growing bureaucracy and politicisation of the council, yesterday announcing his intention to stand down at the coming election.

Cr Bezett, who in ending a 30-year involvement in local body politics, said the role was no longer “fun”.

He bemoaned the increasingly-obvious political ideologies of some councillors, the intensified bureaucracy of local government and the workload of councillors.

“It’s got quite political. It’s something that I just don’t like at all. If you are a Dunedin city councillor, I think you should be looking after the city and not have an allegiance to a political party.”

Labour considered becoming openly involved in local Dunedin politics but backed off. The Greens are promoting a mayoral candidate – see Green candidate proposes local currency – along with  very Green sounding policies. The council is already quite green leaning, with cycleways and anti-oil priorities.

He also took aim at the expectations of central government which had increased the workload of councillors.

“There seems to be an endless commitment to submit on the select committee work they are doing in central government.

“There’s endless consultation and I find for someone to be an effective councillor they have to be totally involved in that and I can’t because I haven’t got the time. Not only that, but I don’t want to be totally involved … the role has changed and there’s no fun in it anymore.

“I have had a really good run and I have thoroughly enjoyed it but the fun has gone out of it for me and I’m going to go do other things,” he said.

He advised anyone considering standing for council to be prepared to treat it as a full-time job.

“Today, to be an effective councillor, I think you have to be a full-time councillor and I have never wanted to be a full-time councillor.”

So there’s a need for professional councillors but not for career politicians.

And ‘the people’ are becoming increasingly fed up with bureaucracy. It is justifiably blamed for being a significant factor in the current housing problems.

The NIMBYs have become adept at manipulating bureaucracy to stifle development.

And the career politicians have become adept at misusing democracy to push their party policies, claiming they have majority support through manipulation of consulting processes.

The best way of combating bureaucracy and politicisation  is for strong independent candidates to stand, but council is not a very attractive option for successful people.


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th July 2016

    The answer to every problem caused by excessive bureaucracy is more bureaucracy. As I said the other day, the consequence can only be stagnation followed by slow decline. New Zealand will be overtaken by Asian nations who put progress before paranoia.

    • Blazer

       /  15th July 2016

      There is no effective bureaucracy in place to prevent Asians buying ….NZ!

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  15th July 2016

        Immigrants are mostly better skilled and motivated than natives so long as you filter out the lunatics, religious and otherwise.

        • Blazer

           /  15th July 2016

          so bureaucracy is not a factor after all…yes!

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  15th July 2016

            99.9% of our bureaucracy is devoted to stopping NZers doing things, not Asians.

  2. Zedd

     /  15th July 2016

    always good to ditch the ‘old wood’ :/

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th July 2016

      Worked out well in Rhodesia and South Africa, has it? It always depends on whether the new wood is better or worse.

  3. Council Officers have control – the CEO sets policy and then delivers it from what I can see. The Councillors do stuff all bar rubber stamp the bureaucrats decisions and the endless cost plus budgets provided by the CEO and team….. Councillors are bought off with vanity projects, and frightened off if that doesn’t work with threats to close libraries and swimming pools to balance the budgets

    Local Government is just poked in NZ and needs a reboot – dis-aggregate the councils back to truly local entities which are responsive to their communities. And then use small regional committees with members drawn from the local councils elected members to co-ordinate big ticket stuff like water supply and sewage

    In the process slash and burn the council staff levels and pay grades to more reasonable levels. Starting with grossly overpaid CEO’s running cost plus mentality monopolies

    The drift to larger and larger local government has seen an accretion of layers of unproductive, obstructive and wasteful bureaucracy with a corresponding accumulation of power in some hands that shouldn’t have it…..

    Oh… a plug for the Bright one – never I thought I would agree with her but…..

    Get contract tendering made truly open and transparent. Managers of Road Works or Parks & Reserves in councils should have no say in selecting contract winners. To be honest Central government should run it for them and that way the dodgy dealings you hear of all the time in the pub are no longer possible… there is a smell of corruption emanating from local government and it ain’t nice

  4. Blazer

     /  15th July 2016

    yes the Super City clusterfuck= more cost,more bureaucracy inflicted on the ratepayers by…National .A brighter future!!