Suggestion not a new idea
Your article referring to Mayor Carter's suggestion surrounding the National government (of which he has remained a part for decades), declaring 'special areas' where the dole would not be paid and monies better spent, requires a review of what was suggested when the writer was on John's electoral committee many years ago.
Andy Duggan and the writer suggested exactly that some two decades ago by way of a detailed direct submission to government through John Carter.
It was simply ignored, with the claim that the government had a menu of systems in place to get the unemployed back to work, etc.
The National government did absolutely nothing.
Our suggestions were both simple and practical.
We knew from personal experience, working for the Department of Labour Employment, if you offered five long-term unemployed work, only three (at the most) would turn up.
We wanted to terminate those registrations in a fixed trial area in the North, and pay the recovered funds to those that did turn up, knowing full well (the others) had no intention of working and were merely playing the system.
Now some 20 odd years later the very same government, which has delivered absolutely nothing to the North by way of any fair allocation of resources under John Carter's watch, is again being asked to better-direct resources.
It won't happen now, any more than it (didn't) happen before.
Thus the North remains in the usual catch-22 situation in that when National saw the North for decades as John's safe long term seat it had little incentive or need to promote the development of the North and with Winston Peters now representing us they will again starve the North of resources as a form of political punishment for the electors' temerity in dumping them. (A move that was long overdue.)
Their best desperate offering was to promote a candidate whose main claim to fame was that he could lift around 200kg (I kid you not) and offer to build us some bridges.
The tired and deprived electorate saw through this shallow charade and dumped them.
They deserve much credit for their actions.
Thus recent petitions like after-hours medical services for our people are simply ignored and again resources are allocated (as they see it) to more 'deserving' or 'politically important' electoral areas.
No wonder the North suffers from all those social ills, deriving from lack of resources, creating as it does entrenched generational poverty.
So while I appreciate John Carter raising the very ideas (we) advanced through him some 20 odd years ago when he was a National MP, it's too little too late.
He was ineffective then and sadly, nothing has changed.
We are now left with an ex-DPB deputy prime minister who wants (and is) spending millions on actually encouraging dependency instead of allocating resources which motivate folk to help themselves, just as we suggested decades ago.
If Mayor Carter's statement 'We have nothing to lose' is to have any real meaning, he should firstly openly blame himself, as he did nothing to effect change during his many decades as MP for the North.
In quoting your editorial comment 'One might be forgiven for wondering, however, how we got to this point with no one noticing.' We did notice. John knew of this decades ago.
He was party to the submissions we made, and chose to do, well, nothing actually.
I would happily go fishing with John at the drop of a hat, but never again rely on his political persuasion to effect change in the North.
Only the people can do that. The question is, will they?