OPINION: I support Lloyd Esler's claim (Friday, Jan 25) that local government amalgamation is a provincial thing and not one for central government. He rehearses his arguments well and suggests that a referendum on the matter may be in the wind for this year.
Gore survived an earlier round of local body amalgamations and went on to win some worthy battles in the health field, but those days seem to be over. Today's issues just seem too big for parish pump politicians.
Take the lignite issue. About seven years ago Solid Energy, a state-owned enterprise with multinational pretensions, announced its intention to change the face of the district by large-scale opencast mining.
After an early acknowledgement, the Gore District Council has said nothing on the matter, nothing at all. Lignite has never been mentioned in the council newsletter (the Hokonui Herald) nor in the Mayor's monthly opinion pieces in the Southland Times; no councillor has been given oversight of the project.
There have been no maps or information articles, no public meetings, no attempt to use the sister-city relationship with Tamworth to find out what it's like to be a neighbour of big mining, no attempt to liaise with Australian farming leaders who came over here to tell us. Is it satisfactory that people wanting answers on lignite come to me because the council can't/won't tell them? No it isn't.
I think Gore District has blown its case for independence.
- The Southland Times
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