March 8 and for what seemed the first time in nearly three months the daytime temperatures in Auckland dropped below 24 degrees. It was in a way a metaphor for the sudden chill felt by the Government over two issues which matter. First its shameful handling of the whaling issue outraged many Kiwis, for whom the whale is an iconic, almost spiritual creature.
And then there was Auckland where finally, the corporate shape of the so-called Super City was unveiled. The New Zealand Herald reported that the Government intends to give control of transport - the number one issue facing the City - to a largely unelected board.
'…the Government wants to prohibit elected representatives from tackling congestion, improving public transport and fixing footpaths' said the Herald's news report.
'Acting against the advice of the Treasury and other government departments, the Cabinet has decided to place transport in the hands of a largely unelected board of business people far removed from the accountability and transparency norms of local government'.
Business first, community and communities second has been the hallmark of every move in this ACT-inspired reform. For parties which both prattled on about democracy, transparency and all the rest in the last election campaign, this is rich. But both ACT and National should remember that one third of the country's population lives in Auckland and though usually politically passive, they will have their say in next year's elections.
Meanwhile expect more of the same because there's a bonanza out there waiting for big business - $28 billion of Auckland's publicly owned assets. The PM and his cabinet have been left floundering on both whaling and this creepy desertion of democracy. Winter's on its way…