There are many in local government scratching their heads after the appointment of Act leader Rodney Hide as Minister of Local Government and wondering what on earth they did to upset Prime Minister John Key so much.
Back in July when he addressed the Local Government New Zealand conference, Mr Key was at his smoochy best.
"We want to work closely with the local government sector... because on many issues, central and local government are in the same boat. We are both major players in the economy and in society. What we do actually matters in people's lives."
He went further, saying, "It's my view that central government has much to learn from local government when it comes to infrastructure planning, investment and management".
He held out great hope to his local partners that a National Government would find new ways for them to finance infrastructure development. "As the local government rates inquiry concluded, the current reliance on rates as the main funding tool for councils to maintain and develop infrastructure is simply not sustainable. It seriously limits the ability of councils to respond to their citizens' varying ability, and willingness, to pay."
He noted how over the past few years, local government had been given new obligations "in areas as diverse as gambling, prostitution and dog control" which "have not been adequately funded by the Government". Under National this would change.
He ended by talking of national and local government learning from each other, and how when he was Prime Minister "we will want to work through some important issues with you, honestly and openly".
However, the moment he's in a position to begin this love-in, what does he do but appoint as Minister of Local Government the leader of a party which is pledged to strip most of its functions over to private operators, confining councillors "to the core activities that produce public benefits, such as regulations, flood controls and roads".
What Rudman seems to forget is that National, not Act is the leader of the new government, and that in accordance with the agreement between the parties, not everything that Act campaigned on will materialise. He seems intent on demolishing Hide's credibility, even before Hide completes his first week in his new job. Keeping Stock will be watching future developments with much interest!