Chance to hear other side

By Heather McCracken

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A meeting is being held tonight at Carterton Events Centre to discuss the proposals for changes in Wairarapa's local governance structure.

It's being held by Toastmasters, an organisation that helps people develop their public speaking skills. Toastmasters has no apparent obligation to help residents understand the competing proposals for governance reform that have been put before them, but that's the task they've taken on. Twice, as this is the second meeting they've held.

There have been other "consultation" meetings held by the three councils in the past months to discuss these options, but a common criticism that came from them was that the one-sided presentation was heavily weighted towards the councils' preferred option, a Wairarapa Unitary Authority.

Unfortunately, because all our elected leaders have so firmly made up their minds, no one seems to be presenting the public with an informed, independent view of the options.

That's why I support what Toastmasters are doing, although, of course, some of the speakers lined up will themselves have a specific agenda, and will be trying to refute the councils' position.

But it's a good opportunity to hear from people in our community other than those who are in council.

The deadline for feedback is on February 4, so this may be one of your last chances to get more information before making a submission.

And your submissions do matter - after that deadline the councils will be putting together a proposal to put to the Local Government Commission, who will look for evidence that whatever plan is put forward is supported by residents.

Tonight's meeting is at Carterton Events Centre at 7.30pm. You can give feedback on the proposals at www.wairarapasfuture.govt.nz.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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