A lot of talk and conjecture floating around lately regarding the surprise resignation of our Mayor. As he revealed no reason, conspiracy theories and conjecture have been rife and all unfounded. While many feel they ‘own’ him, every person is entitled to a reasonable degree of privacy whatever their situation.
Social media has been a great vehicle for criticism and while this may not be an ideal situation nobody seems to be looking for or acknowledging any positives from the past twelve months of a stable and functional Council compared to the upheaval of the last decade.
How well can you judge a twelve month tenure? Why is it even necessary to judge a twelve month tenure? A number of Councillors have resigned in the past without fulfilling their obligations yet without so much as a second thought, so let’s move on.
With Kaipara’s debt at an unaudited level now close to $50m as opposed to $60m when Council took office I would say that’s a pretty fair result. No council can ever do all they propose, nor any government, and each area has their own pet projects, each one being more important than any other.
How many homeowners, dealing with mortgages would consider tightening their belts and reducing it by, say, 15 percent in a year? Simply, none. They grizzle about their mortgages while paying for Sky TV, going out to dinner, maxing out their credit cards and having a holiday in Raro, Fiji or Queenstown. It all depends on priorities. I note some Mangawhai folk vocal about the state of metal roads in Kaipara. With all due respect, Mangawhai people rarely have to drive on metal roads. Personally the metal roads of Batley, Puoto or Donnellys Crossing don’t concern me in the least.
Kaipara had basically been without an effective council for five years when the current one was elected which meant all those involved were new to the job and also new to each other. Staff to Councillors, Councillors to staff, Mayor and Councillors mostly strangers from all districts with different agendas, temperaments and strengths all meeting for the first time but with a commitment to work together for the good of the Kaipara. A big ask.
Apart from that was learning the machinations of a working Council and the fact that many of these workings were actually outside the brief of the Commissioners who had run the show for three years, so there was a considerable amount of peripheral ‘stuff’ that Council had to come up to speed with before getting on with the regular housekeeping.
Mayor Gent always focussed on prudent financial governance and a $10m reduction in the deficit would have to be a good thing. No longer that monkey of $10m and no longer the interest attached to it either. On the other hand, population is growing in all areas of the region which means more long-term income from building consents, rates, development fees and so on. That also means more pressure on our services, but you can allocate big money for big projects and reduce debt at the same time. There is a process. But there is no reason why, with further prudent management, the current trend cannot continue.
From sitting through last week’s Council meeting I concluded this Council has their collective fingers on the pulse. They are deliberating over issues but appear not afraid to make decisions in an effort to move steadily towards what’s best for Kaipara in the long run. Come February there will be a new Mayor, the world won’t explode, the sky won’t fall and with a degree of good luck and good management and goodwill from all of us Kaipara will steadily regain the prosperity it has had in the past.
If you believe you can do a better job, throw your hat into the ring. Experience the thrill of working for 14,000 bosses, all of whom want different things.
Just my thoughts.