Spell it out for everyone

By Gary Caffell

It seems I am not alone in finding the whole debate on local government reform in the Wairarapa confusing.

After conceding that point in last week's opinion piece I received several emails and telephone calls from people feeling exactly the same way.

The general view seems to be those involved at the coalface of the discussions need to work harder to keep the general populace better informed.

And don't remind the critics there is a website dedicated to doing just that ... it's amazing how many people there are who see modern technology as being impersonal and aren't prepared to relate to it as a consequence.

In essence they want to hear the various pros and cons of moves to amalgamate the three Wairarapa district councils in some form or other from the horse's mouth, not from a computer which cannot immediately answer any questions they may have.

It's a fair point.

Considering the public will have a huge say in what eventually goes before the Local Government Commission, everything possible needs to be done to ensure they have all the facts in front of them when decision time arrives.

Rather than have various factors pushing their own barrows and recommending what they see as the best course to take, Joe and Jill Bloggs need to be able to weigh up the various options themselves.

Perhaps then we should be having a series of public workshops at which all the interested parties are invited to attend and have their say and, most importantly, answer questions from the floor.

Yes, that would take time to organise but when you are discussing something which could end local government as we know it in Wairarapa now it hardly makes sense to rush things, does it?

The importance of getting it right has to supersede everything else surely.

And then there is the question of how best to ascertain what the overall view of the public is.

• Gary Caffell is a Masterton district councillor.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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