People power is a tenet that underpins every democracy in the world.
It can be an unstoppable force when communities and citizens align to hold those in power to account and to bring about change.
It has toppled dictators, has changed the lives of millions of people previously maligned, downtrodden, oppressed.
So, it comes as a shock to discover that the power of a single complaint can silence something as crucial as a fire siren.
The fire siren is a call to action for community brigades, often manned by unpaid volunteers, letting them know someone needs help.
We reported this week that Pāpāmoa's fire station was silenced permanently after a six-week trial period, which followed a single complaint made in September last year.
The complaint relates to one night, when the siren was sounded twice. Once at 1.13am and the second at 4.38am - both were for medical events.
Ngongotahā's station in Rotorua was also silenced in July after a siren sounding at 1.30am prompted the brigade to respond to an electrical hazard incident.
In my view, the siren serves several purposes: Not only to alert the volunteers to the emergency, but it lets those involved in the emergency know that their call has been heard, help is on the way. It also reassures the rest of the community that its emergency services are always there when needed.
Pāpāmoa firefighter Brent Sandford says there has been plenty of community support for the siren and people are keen to have it stay.
He says incidents when the siren sounds overnight happen about three times a year.
Other firefighters have expressed frustration that a single complaint can result in such a decision, despite many more in support.
Te Puke keeps its siren, for now, and fire chief Glenn Williams says the siren is more reliable than other methods.
While phones and pagers are being used overnight, to me, there is no alternative to the certainty and urgency of a siren.
Phone batteries die, people forget to put them on to charge or people can sleep through the alerts.
There can be no uncertainty here.
This is not simply just sleeping through the morning alarm – something that doesn't usually have life or death consequences.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand made these decisions based on a single complaint, let's hope they can see sense and reverse the decision based on people power.
I certainly can give up a few nights of broken sleep a year in return for the knowledge that our emergency services can continue to operate as efficiently and as effectively as possible – can you?