So, my friend Huaizhi Chen is a huge nerd and one of the smartest guys I know. Because he is simultaneously lame and cool, he spent his Friday night solving Problem #2 in the following XKCD comic:
I saw this solution: http://www.mbeckler.org/velociraptors/velociraptors.html but it relies on genetic programming/evolutionary algorithms, which is slower and doesn’t necessarily guarantee an optimal solution. Huaizhi uses a numeric differential equation solver to get approximately the same solution, which I find to be a much more elegant and we know it’s optimal.
Here’s an opinion piece from one Associate Professor Kenneth “Sliver Fox” Palmer of the University of Auckland. Someone who is in a position to know these things told me once that no one knows more about local government in New Zealand than this cat.
In the piece he argues that the Government’s decision to go ahead with the Royal Commission’s recommendations that Auckland be reconfigured with one council governing the region is a nessacary one. I don’t disagree with him. The benefits of a centralised power base in Auckland is clear to see when we talk about things such as infrastruture like transport and large scale developments like Flat Bush for example. Large projects can be considered with all of Auckland in mind and their impact on Auckland as a whole becomes an intgeral issue, something which hasn’t been part of some developments in the past. As Ass. Prof. Palmer says:
One Auckland Council for the region will end chronic disagreements over location and funding of regional amenities, and the provision of necessary infrastructure. By eliminating the massive duplication of functions with eight rating authorities, seven district plans, a multitude of differing bylaws, the future will be fairer and more uniform for all residents of the greater region.
It’s been argued that stuff like intergrated ticketing is going ahead all within the current system. However, I think the opposing argument is that under a one council set up this kind of stuff would happen quicker, both at the decision making stage and in implementation.
So, yeah, I’m for it. However, I do have issues. I’m with Gordon Campbell when he questions why this has to happen by 2010. The answer is, of course, the Rugby World Cup to be held in 2011. John Key’s said that the Cup is a factor, but apart from that I can’t for the life of me figure out why this has to happen by the next local body elections. And no one has really given me a satisfactory answer to that one.
Perhaps we just need to get cracking and there’s no reason to muck about, as Prof. Palmer sez the Ryal Commission advocated for the momentum to continue. My argument back over the ramparts is that the issue is so important to Auckland. The Mayor of Auckland, whoever that will be, will be one of the most powerful people in the country. The Mayor will wield a huge about of power over our lives. Considering the how important the issue is, I’d quite like a reasonable amount of time to get it right. Yes, the Royal Commission did a lot of the work, which is how the Government’s arguing for the fast track process, but Cabinet has changed a few key things in the recommendations - local representation and the Maori seats. It takes 10 to 18 months to come up with a 10 year plan for a local council and the whole of Auckland and the transition to a new system of goverance is to be sorted out in the same time?
The select committee process is, to quote Graeme East “window dressing.” Doug Armstrong can argue all he likes that that will be where the public can voice their concerns on the Government’s changes to the Royal Commission’s plans, but he also admits that the Government’s made up its mind and this is how it’s going to be.
I’m all for decisive Government, that’s in part why I support the one council system, but it really does feel that the Government’s taking their end of things and making it up on the fly.
Or not. I’m really just giving this whole tumblr thing a crack, feeling its mo-jo if you like. If you’ve stumbled here and give a toss I’m José (hello). I host a radio show called Sunday Breakfast on 95bFM, a radio station broadcasting from Auckland University in New Zealand.
Here’s a link to the show page on the website. You’ll notice that each ‘article’ has a link to a podcast of each interview as it was broadcast. You’ll also notice, because you’re so perceptive, that on the right of the page is a field where you can go back through past shows.
The idea is that after the show the page is put together and is emailed to everyone who is on the Sunday Breakfast mailing list. You can sign up to the email by going to the main page of the bFM website and filling in the field at the bottom of the page. Don’t fill in your name if you don’t want to.
Incidently the picture featured here is one I took at the public funeral of David Lange, a former Prime Minister of New Zealand. I don’t know who the guy is, but he’s become my personal hero ever since.
By the way the whole shebang was created by Cactus Labs who are terribly good lads.