Ed Said - Political crossroads for Kaipara
Is Kaipara at the crossroads of local body politics?
I believe so.
Given the profile of Kaipara on the national scene over the past five years plus the debt loads being accumulated by several other councils, local body politics countrywide must surely change if for no other reason than ‘if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always had.’
This is no longer acceptable.
Now into March we’re not much more than three months away from nomination time for candidates to form a new Council. The Commissioners’ tenure is running its course though I expect there will still be some governmental over-seeing for at least the immediate future.
Taking an overview, Kaipara is not an easy beast to manage.
It’s not like a wild stallion but more akin to a recalcitrant child. What one area gets, another expects similar consideration, the result of which is a tantrum if not delivered, and priorities set by Council are rarely seen the same way by the populace.
Kaipara covers a wide area from east to west and, as in the ballad of Rudyard Kipling ‘never the twain shall meet’ regardless of how we might view the Kaipara a single entity. By area it also has a relatively small but sparse population.
East of state highway #1 (Kaiwaka/Mangawhai) is almost a different country from the west. Its coastal situation and proximity to Auckland makes it a target for constant growth with also steady tourism traffic. Conversely the west and north consists predominantly of rural service towns, the economy of which very much dependant upon the profitability of its primary producers.
Councils, however, are expected to treat the whole area equally. To the west the focus may be on the sealing of 30 kilometres of metal road whereas the growth in the east, while producing many more rateable properties, requires constant planning and development of costly infrastructure.
Not a juggling act of which I would want to be a part.
No doubt there will be those civic-minded souls who are prepared to throw their hats into the ring and their weight behind the growth and profitability of the Kaipara.
I believe John Key, for example, due to his business investments, does not require his PM’s salary and channels it, or most of it, to other causes. Perhaps there is such a person or people similarly well-heeled, who are prepared to take up the Kaipara Mayoralty without the salary package being of major concern, oft described as ‘peanuts,’ yet with a business background suited to managing a multi-million dollar concern.
Could a particular political leaning be an advantage? Might a known right-leaning Council be able to cuddle up to the Government for the odd special privilege for Kaipara? Just a thought. The ends invariably justify the means.
Then, though in Kaipara terms Mangawhai still has a small population, due to its galloping development, is representation sufficiently balanced for an area which can rightly be labelled the ‘cash cow’ and whose immediate future will probably demand closer attention than anywhere else in the area?
No doubt some are already thinking about the possibility of joining the move to motivate and manage Kaipara. It won’t be child’s play but those prepared to answer the call to civil duty have my utmost respect as, given past events, candidates this year are bound to be well grilled on their motivation and qualifications during their rounds of the hustings.
2016 will be an interesting year for our region. Rates issues must be put to rest once and for all, a new Chief Executive Officer will shortly be appointed then in October a new Council democratically elected in which we MUST have confidence and are prepared to work with and support in making the Kaipara the place we want it to be.
How do you see the Kaipara in five years? Let us know.