OPINION: After a rather tense, intense and edgy council meeting involving local government reform, the sale of reserve land at Sandy Point, the price of electricity and the continuing saga of the Bluff Community Board it was a huge relief to leap into the car and drive to Opus House in Russell Cunningham's development for the official opening of Toothworks, writes Tim Shadbolt in Southern Focus.
It's possibly the biggest dental care centre in the South Island and Hilary, including her hard-working team of technicians and contractors, can feel proud of what they have achieved; an exciting, ultra-modern, earthquake-resistant, avant garde masterpiece.
When I was at school the terrifying dental nurse resided in the “murder house” at the far end of the playground so no-one could hear the screaming. She had an over-extended thigh muscle from continual use of the treadle drill. Anaesthetics were unheard of. Now, of course, dentistry is far more sophisticated and I very much admire the war our dental professionals are waging every day against tooth decay.
The following day was equally inspirational. I was invited by the Hospice and Market South to attend a lecture by Derek Lockwood, the global director of design for Saatchi and Saatchi. He spoke on a wide range of subjects including the power of the visual image to tell a story. In 2009, for example, 60 billion photos went online. This year 375 billion photos and images will be sent out on the internet.
It was great to sit back and be inspired and entertained by a first-class public speaker instead of being on stage myself and trying to inspire others. He spoke on beauty, intimacy, personal feelings and emotions; about giving to the community and sharing your stories with others.
The weekend will also be inspirational as a battle royale will take place today for the Galbraith Shield. Then at night Gore will host the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards. It's absolutely amazing the number of events, festivals and activities that take place in and around Gore. Besides fashion there's Gold Guitars, the Waimumu Field Days, the Money Art Exhibition and the Moonshine Festival and Mandeville Air Display Festival, to name just a few.
I'm sure that as the board of some super South Otago-Southland council they simply wouldn't have the resources to stage so much activity.
Well, another inspiring Southland weekend was over and it was back to work.
Preparing submissions plus press releases on local government reforms, welcoming three school groups from Kumagaya, taking part in SIT's orientation week and researching the sale of Sandy Point reserve land are all on the agenda. At times it's challenging but compared with Te Anau's battle over the bus tunnel and monorail it's relatively relaxed. And why else do I love living in Invercargill?
Well, it's because our relaxed lifestyle gives us the luxury of time to think, reflect and exchange ideas and information.
Last year, for example, I was guest speaker at a military graduation ceremony at Trentham. The MC for the evening promised to track down my father's war medals. This week he found all six of them and as my father's oldest son I can re-claim them and wear them on the right side of my suit on Anzac Day or on other ceremonial occasions.
Of course, nothing will compensate for losing my father but at least I will have more than just a photo to remember him by and I will always feel proud that he died fighting for democracy.
Democracy, of course, is difficult to define. The overwhelming majority of Invercargill city councillors are revolutionary freedom fighters who uphold the purest principle of democracy: one councillor, one vote. The Southland District Council, however, does not believe in this democratic principle and wishes to empower its mayor.
If we can't even agree on basic principles of good governance and the fundamental principles of democracy I don't know how on earth we will ever progress shared services and I'm not sure how to explain this political rift when making submissions to Parliament on local government reform.
» Tim Shadbolt is the mayor of Invercargill
- © Fairfax NZ News
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