It is becoming increasingly apparent to me (and no doubt many others), that no matter how hard we try, "they" just don't listen. They either don't care, or are so convinced that they are right, anything anyone else says is nonsense and irrelevant.
I'll give you three examples of varying weight and importance:
1. Auckland City and the rates
2. Labour Party and it's denial on the pledge card expense
3. Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and the USA
Before I begin on this one, I should let you know that I am not an Auckland ratepayer. I live in Manukau City, and to be frank, I don't mind paying rates. That could be because mine aren't exactly astronomical, but somehow we have to pay for the services we have. There may be a better way, but as yet I haven't heard one. I guess we could try a "user pays" system, but I'm not sure that would really work. I mean, who wants to pay to enjoy a walk in the park? So how do they fund that then?
I've always had a problem with Dick. Ever since he got in, I've looked at him and wondered if he could do the job. So far, not a lot seems to have happened.
Which I guess is half the problem. Councils (and Governments, but we'll get to that later) seem to take your rates, and it seems to disappear. It's very rare for you to actually see something being done with your rates. The only thing I see on a daily basis are the Parking Wardens roaming the streets trying to put a ticket on my car. Of course there's bound to be a whole heap of things going on in the background that we don't know about, of which a huge percentage is probably pointless.
And what can we do about it? Not a lot. Sure we can organise a petition for them to ignore, we can march down Queen St shouting "No More Rates" and they won't listen, we can send emails and write letters for them not to read, we can try and phone them, but good luck getting through to anyone who actually cares or who has any real power.
Simply put there's no accountability. Except for election time, when we'll make them pay, oh yes we will! We will vote this mob out and vote the next mob in who will promise to listen, but won't. Who will promise not to raise rates more than inflation, but will. And will blame the previous councils for the under investment and thus why they need to put the rates up. And why this is wrong and why that's not working and why you are still sitting in traffic going no where and why the trains are still rubbish and why the buses still suck.
Number 2. Helen, Labour, and the pledge card. A quick recap: Last election, Helen decided she would use the money set aside for the PM's office to produce a pledge card promising that a she as Labour PM will do this and that etc etc. Problem is, she's apparently not supposed to use the PM's office petty cash tin to promote her party when it's election time, if at all. I guess we probably wouldn't be worrying about it if it was only a couple of thousand dollars. But it's not. It's around $450,000.00!!! Nice cash if you can get it.
Helen and Labour don't think they need to repay it, as the rules do not specifically say you can't use it. What it actually says is that Operational resources are not provided and many not be used for "producing or distributing promotional or electioneering material by mail or other means of communication for the purpose of supporting the election of any person or the casting of a party vote for any political party."
Seems pretty straight forward to me.
The annoying, frustrating and downright blood boiling part of it all, is that as soon as you make a mistake when dealing with a Government department, you are penalised, asked to pay the money back, and put at the back of the queue. Be it tax, or a benefit payment or such. They will wring you dry, and wish you luck in trying clear your name. Ha bloody ha. Evil I tell ya. The NZ Herald told the story of just such a poor woman who has been hit with a bill to pay back a little over $3k, because WINZ over paid her when she was on a benefit. Or so they reckon. But the problem was, it was the Government departments fault that she was over paid, not hers. Yet, she is the one that is getting penalised. And what would happen if she said "No, I'm not paying, you screwed up, it's not my fault". Well she would probably get taken to court, lose, have to pay court costs, and then get penalised even more for not paying her debt when she was supposed to. Makes ya sick.
But does Helen get such a big stick waved at her? No. And will she get penalised for spending our taxpayers money inappropriately? No. And can we make her accountable? Sure. In about 3 years, at the next election. Thanks for voting.
And last but not least, is number 3. What to do with the bombs dropping on civilians trapped inside the hell that is Lebanon right now. Israel would stop immediately if the USA told it to. But it won't. Why is anyone's guess. But likely it's because it would quite like Hezbollah to get a bit of a hiding (who wouldn't?) and should a few innocent families get obliterated in the meantime, ah well. Absolute madness.
I understand that Israel needs to stop these nuts from chucking stones over the fence and breaking a few windows. But do they need to destroy the whole front verandah, living room, and part of the kitchen?
A few aptly timed and well planned commando raids would probably have done a better job, surely?
They tell these civilians to get out while they can, but where are they going to go? Most of them don't have anywhere to go. And it's not like Israel makes it easy for them. They drop a bunch of leaflets telling them to leave, and then bomb the petrol stations and roads getting out of town!
They bomb a bunch of Kurdish farmers packing vegetables into a truck and then have the audacity to say they shouldn't have been in that area and that it was a suspected Hezbollah HQ. Puhleeeeeeaaaase. Do we honestly look that dumb? Well, apart from the Bush Administration, that is.
The UN Security Council trys to do something about and then gets blocked by the USA who would prefer to work towards a more "meaningful, long term" ceasefire, than a quick stop now to allow some people to leave and some aid to get in. In the meantime more families get killed.
Now we see a massive environmental disaster brewing from a bombed oil terminal and power station on the Lebanese coast. And will Israel stop to allow any of this to be tidied up? Doubt it.
I would like to finish with a profound and well thought out commentary on the above, but I can't.
Because no matter what I say, or you say, nothing will change. We will still be lead by incompetent fools who never listen.