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Lower Hutt Community Centres: Final Statement (1950)

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Chapter 9
First Personal

I Have now finally to record in what manner I myself was eliminated from the scene of community planning and development, the story of which has occupied the previous chapters.
In Chapter One I described how I joined the Internal Marketing Division, with authority from the Prime Minister (Mr Fraser) to assist the consumers' co-operative movement in the Hutt Valley. I told how the concept of community planning had arisen in my mind, and how with the approval of Mr Skinner, and the approval and authority of my Departmental head (Mr R. P. Fraser, Director of Marketing) I added to my duties the promotion of a specific community planning and development programme for the new State Housing settlements of Epuni, Naenae, and Taita. I should add here that the then Minister of Marketing, Hon. Ben Roberts, was fully aware of these widened activities of mine, and gave them implicit sanction.
Nevertheless, in the lack of any formal authority for these activities, my official position was unsatisfactory. (One result of this lack of authority was, I was informed, persistent queries from the Audit Department regarding the paying of my salary and expenses. It was clearly desirable that as soon as possible my status and duties should be formally defined.
My concern over the anomalies of my position was shared by both Mr Fraser and Mr J. W. McConnon, the senior officer of the Internal Marketing Division to whom I was immediately responsible. They both agreed that if I were to continue with the community development work I had mapped out for myself, something should be done to secure official recognition for that work and for my part in it. This, however, would involve decisions on a high - probably Ministerial - level, and they considered it unlikely that the Government would care to make such decisions before the 1946 General Election. After the elections, with a new lease of life, the Ministers mainly concerned - Mr Roberts, Mr Skinner, and Mr Nash (as Member of Parliament for Hutt, the scene of my labours) - would probably be much more inclined to take whatever steps were necessary to regularise
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my position.
Accordingly during 1946 I carried on with my community development activities with nothing more than the knowledge and support of Mr Fraser and Mr McConnon in my Department and of Mr Roberts and Mr Skinner in the Cabinet.

Post-election approach to Mr Skinner

Early in 1947, as soon as practicable after the elections, Mr Fraser and I had an interview with Mr Skinner. Mr Fraser emphasised the need for clarifying my status and duties, and suggested that Mr Skinner (as the Minister who had negotiated with him for my appointment to his Department) should do something about it. Mr Skinner sympathised with our difficulties, but confessed that he personally could see no way out of them. What I was doing in the Hutt Valley was something without Departmental precedent and how to put it on a properly recognised, official basis was a problem the solution of which - for the time at least - was beyond him.
This negative attitude of Mr Skinner's was of course most unsatisfactory to me. However, there it was, and it seemed clear that if I were to continue with my community development work (as I was determined to do) it could only be under existing sanctions, tenuous though they were.
Mr Skinner at least did this. When Mr Cullen became Minister of Marketing Mr Skinner introduced me to him and explained to him how although an officer in his Department I was engaged in promoting consumers' co-operative, health centre, and community centre projects in the Hutt Valley. Mr Cullen raised no objection, and must he held therefore to have implicitly approved my activities.
The next move I made to get my position rectified was in July 1948 when I discussed the problem with Mr H. H. Innes, then Assistant Director of Marketing. (Mr Fraser had in the meantime resigned from the Division and there was for the time being no Director.) By this time my duties in connection with the consumers' co-operative movement in the Hutt Valley had come to an end. Also, because of the collapse of the health centre proposals, those proposals no
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longer occupied any part of ray time. Consequently the community centre movement in the Hutt Valley was now engaging my full attention, and this fact seemed to make the problem of clarifying and regularising my position very much simpler. For whatever might be said about consumers co-operation and health centres, there seemed to be nothing controversial or "political" about the desirability of fostering community centres.

Suggestion by Mr H. H. Innes, Assistant Director of Marketing

Mr Innes, on hearing my story, said he was pretty sure that the Government (on past indications) would not be prepared to take any official action on my behalf while the future of the Naenae community centre scheme was still indefinite, but when (and if) the scheme was formally approved, Mr Nash as Member of Parliament for Hutt might be prepared to write to the Lower Hutt City Council on behalf of the Government offering to arrange to second me to the Council for official duties in connection with the furtherance of the community centre proposals. Mr Innes undertook to discuss this suggestion with Mr Nash.
Some time later Mr Innes informed me that he had had an interview with Mr Nash and that the Minister agreed in principle with the proposal for seconding me to the Lower Hutt City Council. Mr Nash thought, however, that Mr Cullen (as Minister of my Department) should be the one actually to make any such offer to the Council. He thought it advisable, further, that the Mayor of Lower Hutt (Mr E. P. Hay) should be informally consulted beforehand to make sure that the offer would in fact be acceptable if made. He suggested that Mr Innes should discuss the matter with the Mayor.
Mr Innes did this. It seems that Mr Hay said that he himself would be very happy to have Mr Robertson in continued and active association with the community centre project but that before committing himself and his Council he would like to consult with the Naenae Community Centre Committee to ascertain their views. Later, after taking this step, Mr Hay was able to inform Mr Innes that both to the Naenae Committee and to the Lower Hutt City Council the formal secondment of myself to the Council for community centre duties would be acceptable and welcome.
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Mr Cullen agrees

Mr Innes now carried the matter to Mr Cullen, informing him of his conversations with Mr Nash and Mr Hay. As a result Mr Cullen (so Mr Innes informed me) himself agreed to the secondment proposal, and said that he would be willing to offer my services to the Lower Hutt City Council by letter as soon as the Naenae community centre scheme had been endorsed by the Government.
Soon after this Mr Innes resigned from the Marketing Department. Before leaving, however, he prepared a statement on what he had done in this matter for the information of his successor, Mr K. B. Longmore, hitherto Secretary to the Department.
(I may say that I have submitted this account in writing to Mr Innes for confirmation, and that he vouches for its accuracy as far as his own part therein is concerned. )

The Role of K. B. Longmore

I should say at this point that although Mr Longmore and I had always got on well together, he had never disguised his hostility to the Lower Hutt community centre scheme and in particular to the provision calling for weekly contributions from all householders in the areas concerned. He was actually a resident of one of those areas, Epuni. Nevertheless, on the resignation of Mr Fraser, Mr Longmore took pains to assure me that there would be no change in the attitude of himself or the Department towards me and my community centre activities.
In May 1949 (as already described) the Government formally endorsed the Naenae community centre scheme in a letter from Mr Nash to the Lower Hutt City Council. The time therefore had arrived for Mr Cullen to carry out his agreement to make to the Council a formal offer of my services.
But I soon found, when I raised the matter with Mr Longmore (it of course being a Departmental matter) that Mr Longmore as far as he himself was concerned did not consider himself bound by anything his predecessor may have done or arranged. He disapproved, he said, of any proposal whereunder the Government would offer the services of a Departmental officer to a local body for such duties as community centre development. Such a course, he said, would
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create undesirable precedents and might be a cause of embarrassment to the Government; he would not be prepared to recommend it to his Minister no matter what understanding might have been reached between Mr Cullen and Mr Innes.

Mr Longmore's Alternative Proposal

Mr Longmore, however, volunteered the suggestion that he would be willing to support an alternative arrangeement. He said that if (instead of the Government taking the first step by writing to the City Council) the Council itself were to take the initiative and formally request that my services be made available for community centre work, in his opinion that would be quite a satisfactory move. The Government would then be able to say (in reply to any query) that they had been approached by this local body with a specific request, and that in view of the uniqueness and importance as an experiment of the Naenae scheme they were happy to comply with the request and, without committing themselves to similar action elsewhere, to make available the services of the officer in question.
Mr Longmore further stated that if the Lower Hutt City Council were to write to Mr Cullen in such terms he would be prepared to give the request official Departmental support. With regard to Mr Cullen's reception of it, Mr Longmore continued, of course he could not make any promises or commit the Minister but he thought it likely that Mr Cullen (after consultation with the local Member, Mr Nash) would himself agree.
(This seemed quite satisfactory to me. With the Departmental backing for the proposal that Mr Longmore had promised, and with the principle of the proposal already accepted by both Mr Cullen and Mr Nash in previous discussions with Mr Innes, the way now seemed clear for a final resolution of my difficulties of position. )
May I say at this point that during the whole of my discussion with Mr Long more there was present Mr D. Campbell, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Marketing, who took part in the conversation. I mention this lest Mr Longmore be tempted to suggest that the account that I am giving is fictitious.

Preparation of Draft Letter

It was now a matter of enlisting the collaboration of the Lower
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Hutt City Council. Mr Hay was no longer Mayor, having recently resigned to become a Supreme Court judge. His successor was Mr W. C. Gregory, who had been a member of the Lower Hutt Provisional Community Centre Committee. So I said to Mr Longmore, "May I explain all this to Mr Gregory?" "Yes", said Mr Longmore, "you can tell Mr Gregory that you have discussed this with me and that I approve of this course of action and will support it departmentally."
Before talking to Mr Gregory I prepared a draft of a letter for sending to Mr Cullen, Minister of Marketing, from the Lower Hutt City Council. I showed the draft to Mr Longmore, and with one or two slight amendments he endorsed it. The draft was as follows:

Draft

Hon. E. L. Cullen,
Minister of Marketing,
Parliament Buildings,
Wellington.
Dear Mr Cullen,
As you of course know, in a recent letter to the Lower Hutt City Council the Right Hon. W. Nash, Member of Parliament for Hutt and Minister of Finance, conveyed the Government's approval of the Naenae Community Centre scheme, offering to provide a pound-for-pound subsidy, up to a limit of £30,000, on the capital costs and to facilitate the passing of whatever legislation might be necessary to implement the scheme.
The City Council, in carrying out the recommendations of the Lower Hutt Provisional Community Centre Committee which it endorsed last June, has set up a special committee to assume responsibility for the scheme. This committee consists of the Mayor of Lower Hutt as Chairman, two City Councillors, and two representatives of the Naenae area; it supersedes the Provisional Committee and will continue from the point left off by that committee the task of developing the Naenae Community Centre project.
A prominent member of the old Provisional Committee was Mr Wm. L. Robertson, an officer of the Marketing Department. Mr Robertson, in addition to serving on the Provisional Committee, was Hon. Secretary of its predecessor - the Community Centre Committee of the Hutt Valley Community Planning Council he has been active in the Lower Hutt community centre movement since its inception three and a half years ago, and has rendered many valuable services not only in the field of community centre planning but also by acting as liaison with various Government Departments and by assisting local community centre activities in Epuni, Naenae and Taita.
Although it has rover been officially stated, it has all along been tacitly understood that Mr Robertson's services in these respects were made available through the goodwill and sympathetic attitude of the Government towards the Lower Hutt community centre movement, and in particular of his own Minister, the Minister of Marketing. Because of the peculiar setup of the community centre planning organisation which has operated up to the present, it has apparently not been necessary for Mr Robertson's relations with it to be more explicitly defined or authorised.
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With the new set-up, however, it appears that if Mr Robertson is to continue in active association with the Naenae community centre project it will be necessary to clarify those relations.
This matter was considered by our newly-constituted Community Centre Committee. Its members are emphatic that because of his past record, experience and achievements Mr Robertson could remain most useful to the committee and to the local Naenae community in the furthering of the Naenae project. They propose, therefore, that you be asked if you could see your way clear to permitting Mr Robertson to continue to work with us as in the past, both as liaison with the Government Departments concerned and in an assisting capacity with our new City Council Community Centre Committee (already referred to) and with the local Naenae Community Centre Committee.
At its last meeting the City Council endorsed this proposal and resolved to submit it to you. In doing so it is realised that something perhaps without precedent is being asked for, but it is felt that your consent would be amply justified because of the magnitude of the Naenae community centre scheme, its novel experimental character, and the probable significance of its successful development not only to Lower Hutt but to other parts of New Zealand as well.
We should appreciate the courtesy of an early reply.
(Town Clerk,
Lower Hutt City Council)
(The wording of this draft assumed of course that the proposal described in it would in fact receive the endorsement of the City Council Community Centre Committee and of the City Council. )

The Mayor and the City Council

At the first opportunity I had an interview with Mr Gregory and told him of the understanding I had come to with Mr Longmore. Mr Gregory approved the idea of my proposed secondment to his Council for community centre work and undertook to put the proposal to both the City Council Community Centre Committee and to the Council itself for endorsement. He accepted as satisfactorily covering the position the draft letter I submitted to him, as above.
In due course, on the Mayor's suggestion the City Council Community Centre Committee and the City Council formally decided to apply to Mr Cullen for my secondment, and the letter which I had drafted was forwarded to the Minister.

Mr Longmore's 'Volte Face'

Up to this point everything had proceeded smoothly. It seemed
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now that before long I would be officially confirmed in the community centre work which I had initiated three and a half years previously and on which I had since then been continuously engaged. But now events took a course which surprised and dismayed me.
To begin with, two days before the promised letter from the Lower Hutt City Council actually reached Mr Cullen, I received a memorandum from Mr Longmore ordering me to cease my work in connection with community centres forthwith, and to report to his Chief Clerk for other duties. I was naturally somewhat disconcerted at this. I sought an immediate interview with Mr Longmore and expressed my surprise at this summary and unexpected action of his in view of the fact that he had not only agreed to support the request contained in the City Council's impending letter but had himself suggested that such a letter should be sent. "But the letter has not arrived," said Mr Longmore. "That may be so," I replied, "but it should be along any day now. I know that it was authorised at the last meeting of the City Council." "Well, I'm tired of waiting," said Mr Longmore. "The Council has had several weeks now to make their approach to Mr Cullen, and if they have taken this long to do it it shows that they are not very interested. If they had really wanted your services they would have applied before this."
"But, Mr Longmore," I said, "City Councils, like Government Departments, take time to do things like this. Since Mr Nash's letter giving the Government's approval of the Naenae scheme was received by the City Council, certain complications have arisen which have prevented the Council from giving earlier consideration to the question of my own relationships with the Naenae scheme. This is quite the earliest that they were able to get around to it."
"Well, the decision as far as this Department is concerned has been made. You will report to the Chief Clerk at once for other duties."
I intimated to Mr Longmore that I was not prepared to accept his directions in this regard, and that I would have to take what steps I could to enable me to continue with my community centre work.
The steps I took were sufficient to have Mr Longmore's memorandum
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to me countermanded. I was authorised to carry on in the meantime as hitherto. I learned indirectly that Mr Cullen was referring the whole matter to Mr Nash, and that pending some decision or recommendation by Mr Nash no further action would be taken regarding myself.
It was now the middle of July.
On 23rd September I received the following letter from Mr Longmore
Dear Mr Robertson,
I have further discussed with the Hon. Minister of Marketing the question of your present duties. He had directed that the Department take no further part in the community centre scheme. Your duties in connection therewith are to cease accordingly.
New duties will be allocated to you by the Chief Clerk. Reasonable time not to exceed one week will be allowed you to complete any outstanding matters.
Yours faithfully,
K. B. Longmore,
Assistant Director of Marketing
Again I am dependent upon indirect sources of information, but I learned that Mr Cullen had become tired of waiting for some decision or advice on the matter from Mr Nash. (Compare Mr Longmore's statement to me that he had "become tired of waiting" for the letter from the City Council. ) Mr Nash had had the matter in his hands for over two months, yet had done nothing about it.
On the same day (23rd September) that Mr Longmore wrote his letter to me Mr Cullen replied to the Lower Hutt City Council's letter of the previous July (this was the first notice that he had taken of that letter) curtly informing them that the Government was not prepared to make my services available for community centre development purposes and that I had been directed to take up other duties within a week's time.
I had no intention, of course, of accepting those "other duties." For one thing, quite apart from the principles involved and the
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value of the long-range work on which I was engaged, had I at that point suddenly discontinued my community centre activities it would not have been practicable to open the Naenae Community Playground on the date planned and the development of that project would have been thrown into confusion.
Accordingly, when I received Mr Longmore's letter I at once applied for the remainder of my annual leave and continued with my community centre work as usual. When my leave expired I applied for and received two weeks' special leave (i.e., leave without pay), which was subsequently extended to 21st December. (I received this latitude as I explained that approaches had been made to Mr Nash regarding my position and that the Minister was believed to be doing something about it.) On 22nd December however I was directed by the Chief Clerk to "report to Mr Jupp today and he will allocate you duties in the Accounts Section." I viewed this insulting order with the contempt it deserved. Upon my informing the Chief Clerk that I did not propose to comply with his direction I received from the Director of Marketing (Mr L. C. Webb) a memorandum stating that "in the circumstances, it has been decided to terminate your services as from 21/12/49."
I thus became unemployed, and so ended my four years' association with the Lower Hutt community centre movement.
Let me summarise the events of the past few pages.
1.
When Mr H. H. Innes, Assistant Director of Marketing, submits to Mr Nash a proposal that I be seconded to the Lower Hutt City Council for community centre duties, the Minister accepts the proposal in principle; he suggests, however, that before proceeding further with it Mr Innes should obtain the approval of the Mayor of Lower Hutt, Mr E. P. Hay; and further suggests that (given the Mayor's approval) the actual offer of my services should be made by Hon. Mr Cullen as Minister of my Department.
2.
Mr Innes duly interviews Mr Hay, who, on behalf both of the
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Lower Hutt City Council and of the Naenae Community Centre Committee, signifies that an offer of my services by the Government would be acceptable.
3.
Mr Innes informs Mr Cullen of his talks with Mr Nash and Mr Hay; Mr Cullen thereupon agrees to offer my services to the Lower Hutt City Council in a seconded capacity, as soon as the Naenae community centre scheme received the endorsement of the Government.
(Witness to the truth of statements 1 to 3, above - Mr H. H. Innes, then Assistant Director of Marketing)
4.
The Government duly endorses the Naenae scheme, whereupon I draw the attention of my Departmental head - Mr Innes' successor as Assistant Director of Marketing, Mr K. B. Long more- to the arrangements on which an understanding had been reached between Mr Innes, Mr Nash, and Mr Cullen.
5.
Mr Longmore states that he is not prepared to support those arrangements as they stand, i.e., that the Government should take the first step by itself offering my services to the Lower Hutt City Council; but alternatively, if the Council were to take the initiative and lodge a request for my services (through Mr Cullen) with the Government, then he (Mr Longmore) would be prepared to give such a request official Departmental support.
6.
Mr Longmore gives me permission to inform the new Mayor of Lower Hutt, Mr W. C. Gregory, that he had given me this undertaking.
7.
I prepare a draft letter designed, on being forwarded from the City Council to Mr Cullen, to request the proposed secondment and to set forth accurately the case for the request.
8.
Mr Longmore examines this draft and declares himself satisfied with it; i.e., it submits a proposal that he is prepared to support officially.
(Witness to the truth of statements 4 to 8, above Mr D. Campbell, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Marketing)
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9.
I report, my discussions with Mr Longmore to the Mayor of Lower Hutt, Mr Gregory, and submit to him the draft letter; Mr Gregory accepts it, and undertakes to discuss the question of my secondment both with the Lower Hutt City Council Community Centre Committee and with the City Council.
10.
These two bodies endorse the proposal; a letter as drafted is sent from the City Council to Mr Cullen.
11.
Two days before this letter actually reaches Mr Cullen Mr Longmore repudiates the whole arrangement and agreement, without plausible explanation, and directs me to cease forthwith community centre activities and to accept other duties.
12.
I manage to secure a stay of this direction, during which Mr Cullen refers the City Council's letter to Mr Nash for advice as to what action should be taken upon it.
13.
Mr Nash, despite his previous talk and understanding on the matter with Mr Innes, does nothing about it.
14.
At the end of two months Mr Cullen, hearing nothing from Mr Nash, also decides to repudiate his agreement with Mr Innes regarding myself, and curtly informs the Lower Hutt City Council that my services will not be made available as requested.
15.
Simultaneously Mr Longmore, on Mr Cullen's instructions, directs me to cease community centre activity and to report to his Chief Clerk for other duties.
16.
On my refusing to accept this direction, I am dismissed from the Public Service over the signature of the Director of Marketing.
This sequence of facts surely speaks very loudly for itself. However I am bound to record that I judge Mr Longmore's behaviour in this matter to have been contemptible, perfidious, and base. One would have difficulty in finding a more perfect example of double-dealing.
Mr Cullen's part is perhaps more understandable. Mr Cullen was a notoriously weak Minister, and doubtless he had forgotten all about his conversation and understanding with Mr Innes, It is
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probably true, also, that in this matter he was merely acting on the advice of his Departmental adviser, Mr Longmore. He probably just signed what was put before him.
Finally, Mr Nash. Mr Nash is not forgetful. He must have remembered perfectly well his conversation with Mr Innes regarding myself, how he agreed with the proposal for my secondment and how he requested Mr Innes to discuss the matter with the Mayor of Lower Hutt, Mr Hay. Yet, when Mr Cullen referred the City Council's letter to him for his advice, instead of reminding his colleague that an agreement regarding myself had already been reached, he preferred to remain silent.
I have something more to say about Mr Nash.

Deputations

When I received Mr Longmore's memorandum dated 23rd September, directing me to sever forthwith any official association with the Naenae community centre movement, I at once discussed this crisis in my affairs (and, I think I can fairly say, in the affairs of the Naenae centre) with my old associate, Mr R. S. V. Simpson. Mr Simpson was disturbed, and volunteered to arrange a protest deputation from Naenae to wait upon the local Member of Parliament, Mr Nash. This deputation, including representatives of the Naenae Community Centre Committee and the Naenae Community Playground Leaders Group, duly met the Minister. (This was the occasion, referred to on pages 108-9, when Mr Nash was forced to admit his astonishing misunderstanding regarding the application to the Minister of Education for a Naenae community centre director. ) Mr Nash listened to the deputation and said he would see what he could do.
A second deputation, arranged by Councillor T. J. Young from the Lower Hutt City Council Community Centre Committee, also made representations to Mr Nash on my behalf. Mr Nash told them that he would see what he could do.
Mr Nash, however, did nothing effective. He delayed any action at all till the very eve of the elect ions (November 1949) when, apparently, he spoke to Mr A. G. Harper, Under-Secretary of Internal
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Affairs, regarding the possibility of my transfer to that Department. Mr Harper, in turn, delayed giving him a definite answer until after the elections, when he informed the ex-Minister that he would not accept me on his staffs (I have already discussed Mr Harper's attitude to such a proposal, in the last chapter.)

Mr Nash and Myself

It is quite clear to me that Mr Nash at no time had any intention of taking effective action on my behalf. Had he really wished to do so, he could have resolved the anomalies of my position at any time, overnight. With his power in the Government there is no question about that.
The question is, why was he undisposed to act effectively to secure for me a properly-recognised place in the Lower Hutt community centre movement? I can say without hesitation that it was because I incurred his deepseated and implacable hostility through my habit of pressing him for action on various key phases of the Hutt Valley community planning project.
The implementing of that three-fold planning project, as the account in this statement will have made plain, depended at a number of points upon active collaboration with and positive assistance from the Government. As one who had agreed to becoming Patron of the Hutt Valley Community Planning Council, Mr Skinner was by rights the Minister through whom all necessary liaison should have been maintained with the Government. But Mr Skinner showed himself of little use in this respect. He either had too little influence to persuade his colleagues to action concerning Hutt Valley community planning matters, or was reluctant to seem to be interfering with their portfolios. However it was, it became evident before long that he would have to be largely bypassed, and that Mr Nash, as Member of Parliament for Hutt and Minister of Finance as well as one of the most powerful members of the Government, was the one to whom representations from the planning groups would have to be directly made.
But Mr Nash was an incredibly unsatisfactory kind of person to try to deal with. He would listen to an argument, for example, and
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promise to look into a certain point at issue, and then nothing - literally nothing - would happen. Weeks, months, would pass without a word from the Minister. At first I could not understand the contradiction between the generous verbal support that he gave our planning proposals in the early stages and the invincible reluctance that he thereafter showed - when it came to times for decision and action - to assist us in any practical fashion with the problems of giving effect to those proposals.
It seemed to me, for example, that anyone as keen as he had declared himself to be for the health centre idea would have been only too happy to fulfill the promises he made to assist the development of the Hutt Valley health centre scheme. But we have already seen how sorry was his record in this respect.
I eventually was forced to the conclusion that Mr Nash's support for such idealistic forms of social organisation as consumer cooperatives, health centres, and community centres was mere 'lip- support' - so much eye-wash, as it were. As a leading politician in a professedly progressive, altruistic political party, he could not do other than maintain some appearance of support for such things. But basically, I believe that they made no emotional or intellectual appeal to him, that he felt no urge to assist with their development, and that he was determined to waste as little time as possible upon them.
Thus it became evident that any practical backing by Mr Nash for any part of the three-fold planning project undertaken by the Hutt Valley Community Planning Council would be secured from him most unwillingly and only by dint of exercise of pressure - by persistent pressure, for Mr Nash is a very strong-willed and obstinate man. And there was no sidetracking the need for pressure upon this particular politician, because without his support (reluctant or otherwise) there was no hope for progress with the planning projects.
But an unfortunate consequence of any such determined and persistent policy with Mr Nash was that whoever might appear as its source or agent would incur the enmity of the Minister.
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In Mr Nash's mind there was undoubtedly a conflict between his dislike of consumer co-operatives, health centres, and community centres on the one hand, and, on the other, a lurking feeling that as a leading member of his political party he owed some loyalty to progressive principles - to such principles as the Hutt Valley planners were endeavouring to give effect to in their proposals. This conflict would normally give rise to a feeling of guilt, and the more attention he was obliged to give to the requirements of the Hutt Valley community planning scheme - the greater, that is, the pressure brought to bear upon him to fulfill his promises or to take action in conformity with the policy of his party - the more conscious would be that feeling of guilt.
But guilt feelings to a man such as Mr Nash would be intolerable. Thus whoever by his actions discernibly contributed to their development in his consciousness would incur his deep resentment.
In the Hutt Valley community planning organisation Mr Nash soon began to recognise me as the principal advocate of a policy of active persistence in that organisation's relations and dealings with the Government. In fact, I have been informed that invariably, whenever my name might crop up during the course of discussion, he would complain "But Mr Robertson is so persistent.'" as if it were a cause for reproach. He seemed unimpressed by the rejoinder that apparently only through persistence was it possible to obtain results.
Thus I became the object of his hostility. Mr Nash took no crude step against me such as an open attack. He contented himself with the adoption of an attitude of discourtesy and refusal to give due recognition to my role in the Hutt Valley community planning programme. When, however, it remained effectively in his hands - and in his hands alone - to make it possible for me to continue with my community centre work, he found the vent for his resentment by simply doing nothing at all.
As an intelligent and observant man, he must have realised that my continued collaboration with the Naenae community centre scheme was important - probably essential - to its success. We must
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conclude that he was willing to see this scheme within his own electorate hamstrung or sacrificed for the sake of satisfying a score against an object of his antipathy.
This is a sad conclusion, but one to which I am forced by my experience with this politician over the four years during which I was a leader of the Hutt Valley community planning project.

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