Passion heats up debate

By Heather McCracken

The Mayor of Otorohanga, Dave Williams, has had a tattoo representing his love of the district inked down his left arm. It's impressive - covering the whole length of his arm, and representing various features and people of the area.

Otorohanga (not far from my old home town of Te Awamutu) is an interesting district.

And Mayor Williams, who has governed for three terms, is quite an interesting mayor, most notable perhaps for founding and championing the district's zero youth waste policy, which has resulted in Otorohanga boasting no unemployment for people under 25. So now Mr Williams is leaving his role and will be wearing his passion for the district on his sleeve.

Would any of our mayors go as far as having Wairarapa permanently inked on their skin?

Could we see Adrienne Staples with the Cape Palliser lighthouse, intertwined with a bunch of pinot noir grapes tattooed down her arm? Garry Daniell with Castlepoint's Castle Rock on his chest?

Ron Mark with Carterton's clocktower, or one of the town's famous daffodils, on his shoulder?

There's certainly no question that there is plenty of passion for the region - you can see that in the heated debate that has been developing around the governance issue. The trouble is, all the heat doesn't seem to be helping.

As residents trying to make sense of the options being put before us, we need less passion, less scaremongering and stone-throwing, and more information.

The councils will be re-elected in their current form this year. That means that, although proposals will be filed to the local government commission soon, there will be plenty of time to thrash out the details and many more rounds of public consultation to come. It may be helpful if we took the heat out of the debate for a bit.


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