Consult also means to listen

By Gary Caffell

1 comment


There was plenty to ponder at the local government reform consultation meeting held in the Masterton Town Hall last week.

While some speakers were difficult to pick up, due to either an inadequate sound system or an inability to use a microphone - or a mixture of both - it was clear those looking to sell the idea of a single Wairarapa council operating as a unitary authority have a hard job ahead of them.

Simply because they don't have the facts and figures to show what their proposal will mean to the ratepayers of the Masterton, South Wairarapa and Carterton districts.

And telling them this won't be known until a new amalgamated council is in place is never going to sit too easily with the general populace, is it?

One of the most popular points raised was about the consultation process itself.

Why, it was asked, was so much time being spent praising the benefits of a unitary authority and little about touting the positive aspects of Wairarapa becoming part of a Wellington super city, if only in the interests of fair play? Food for thought.

That the super city concept has greater support than indicated in surveys taken two or three months ago certainly seemed obvious but, if there was big winner on the night, it was the Greater Wellington Regional Council whose value to Wairarapa was mentioned time and again.

The cost factors associated with a unitary authority taking over their services were seen by many to be prohibitive, as they may well be.

News the working group representing the three district councils has now been invited to join their counterparts from over the hill in future local government reform discussions is pleasing - but you have to wonder whether the consultation meetings have given them the mandate to continue advocating a unitary authority as their preferred option.

They can argue it's what the councils want, which is their number one priority but, on the other side of the coin, you can also ask why hold consultation meetings at all if you are not going to listen and act on what is being said there?

Gary Caffell is a Masterton district councillor.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 22 Jul 2014 23:20:25 Processing Time: 809ms