The question I have been asking of late is: ''Who is representing the interests of Wanaka and Upper Clutha area at the Queenstown Lakes District Council?''
I believe that we are not being served well by our current representatives and we do not have a strong voice in our local democracy.
I have seen and heard many good citizens of Wanaka, Hawea and the Upper Clutha area, frustrated and dismayed with the decisions that the council and its chief executive has made on their behalf in the last three years.
First there was the loss of the kerbside recycling, collection and processing contract, which Wanaka Wastebusters had been providing successfully for seven years.
The loss of this contract to an Auckland company had a serious detrimental effect on employment and reduction of money in our local economy.
Despite the fact that Wanaka Wastebusters had functioned as a successful not-for-profit community organisation for 10 years and achieved national recognition as a leading community waste business, the council dealt a severe blow to a locally grown successful enterprise.
Secondly, earlier this year, without consultation and in high-handed fashion, the council cut staff at the Wanaka Public Library by 50 per cent and threatened to turn it into a service centre.
On both occasions there was much protest and many voiced their outrage at these adverse changes to our area.
People even marched on the streets with angry placards!
We made representation to the mayor, councillors, spoke at committees, put in countless submissions.
But to no avail.
They are not listening!
Now it is election time.
My view is, that we need strong-minded representatives, who are motivated to serve the interests of our area first and foremost.
They are the only ones who can speak on our behalf.
Let us hope that we have some robust campaigning from the candidates who are standing for the Wanaka Community Board and the council.
Let us choose well and make sure we take the opportunity to vote. To make democracy work, we must participate.
Dame Sukhi Turner, citizen of Wanaka and Dunedin Mayor 1995-2004
- The Mirror
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