OPINION: The final LTP for the district has been approved and almost exactly mirrors the February draft, demonstrating the futility of the public submission process.
An even more disturbing trend is the open trivialisation by the mayor, staff, and some councillors of submissions that oppose their proposals. It seems now a standard argument to discount objectors on the basis that they only represent x (read some small number) per cent of the district's population.
However, they see no irony in allowing five unelected senior staff and nine councillors and the mayor (collectively 0.02 per cent), to decide what is good for the rest of us. The fact that 99.98 per cent of the district is hostage to people who believe all spending of other people's money is progress and who contrive to steer a $120 million a year business on nothing more substantial than "vibrancy", "togetherness" , and "connectedness" rarely engages their thinking. Given the uncertainty that the council seem to feel about what the community really wants, then perhaps it is time to give some decision-making power back to the people who actually pay the bills. The governance model is too reliant on a hit (and usually miss) affair of getting good people to represent us. Mandatory and binding referendums on key decisions and spending would be a good start. A quick litmus test through an online survey should be a much more reliable indicator of community priorities than what passes for informed debate, decision-making process, and priority setting around the council table.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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