Today, I got a sharp reminder that one's ability to engage in democracy depends on those in power. One can be law abiding, pay their rates on time every time, but can still be barred from the very symbol of democracy, the council building.
That symbol of democracy seems now to be solely used to enable staff to shield themselves from ratepayers. It has become us and them.
Elected councillors, in my opinion, position themselves with staff instead of being the voice of the people, hiding away.
Let me take this opportunity to remind our elected councillors that whilst staff take this path, where the meaning of democracy is forgotten over the need to self-preserve, it will be the elected councillors who will pay for this display of, what is in my view, arrogance.
[Yesterday] saw democracy happen in the street by way of a peaceful hikoi. As council meetings can be conducted in confidence at the drop of a hat, as council can position security on the doors and lock the doors, how else can democracy happen? How can the voice of the people be heard?
Enough is enough, we want actual tatau tatau.
Referring to the recent articles in the Rotorua Daily Post covering the Rotorua Lakes Council's InfraCore subsidiary and the request to employees to take pay cuts to balance the books and save $700,000 per year. With the ensuing labour unrest i.e. strike action.
In view of our council's prodigious spending on frivolous items such as Mudtopia and the wonderful artworks proposed for the Hemo Gorge and with outsourcing the running of the Aquatic Centre I can see why this is necessary. They do need to save money and not blow the budget.
While our councilors and their top well-paid staff are considering reducing spending on lower paid employees' wages, are they also taking a pay cut on a pro rata basis?
This will help the long-suffering ratepayers of Rotorua meet their expenses of Christmas and annual holidays.