This week people living in The Lakes suburb of Tauranga met to discuss whether setting up a ratepayers' group to represent residents was needed and wanted.
It's nice to see local ratepayers taking charge of their own representation.
There are already several ratepayer groups in the city including Grace Rd and Avenues Neighbourhood Residents' Association, Tauranga Ratepayers Action Network, Te Papa Residents Groups, Greerton Ratepayers Alliance, Mount Maunganui Residents and Ratepayers Association, Papamoa Residents and Ratepayers Association and Matua Residents Association.
Adding a Lakes group would bring the list to eight groups representing a population of about 151,300 according to Statistics NZ 2020 projections for Tauranga.
In my opinion we should welcome new ratepayer groups with open arms. The more community groups the better.
In the Rotorua district there is one overarching residents and ratepayers group to represent a population of about 77,300.
While there are eight other residents and ratepayer groups, all but one - the Tihiotonga group - represent suburbs on the outskirts such as Mamaku, Lake communities and Hamurana.
Personally I think we need more representation and a range of views.
It is a challenge for one group to accurately represent all facets of such a diverse district.
There are farmers, first-home owners, property investors. There are working poor, people living in motels or cars or living week to week.
There are students, retirees, young professionals, and older ones.
There are Pākeha, Māori, Chinese, Pacific Islanders and many other minority cultures.
Ratepayers groups, no matter how large, would struggle to represent all these facets of the community, no matter how hard they tried.
Perhaps you feel represented already but in the Lakes area it's good to see residents at least asking if specific representation is needed or wanted.
As Samantha Motion wrote earlier this week, asking people to stay on top of what councils are doing as well as keeping up with other commitments is a challenge.
But it is so important to do.
If you want to have a say, you need to find a way. If you don't feel represented, then do something about it.