Time for common sense, pragmatism
The old adage that “a week is a long time in politics” was never more true than when applied to our beloved Tairawhiti in the middle of two major events that are both competing for our undivided attention — the pandemic and the general election campaign. In fact, the last 24 hours has demonstrated how an even lesser time frame is sufficient for anything to happen when issues of this magnitude collide on our patch.
Sadly, and regrettably, the ingredient (leadership) that could save us from ourselves at a time like this is the one thing that is conspicuous by its absence. As a result, we could all become collateral damage.
It could have and should have been so different.
I suppose l dare to hope that in the coming days those who have been charged with oversight of our security will think again about their collective, appalling response to the Government's offer to pay for the building of a log barging port on the East Cape, realising that they have responsibilities to all of us lesser mortals but, more importantly, to those generations who will inherit this magnificent part of God's Earth.
In a democracy like ours, each generation takes responsibility for and acts as guardian (kaitiaki) of the land and environment that is entrusted to them, irrespective of individual names that are on the title deeds. Consequently, decisions made by those in leadership roles must reflect the best interests of all those who are likely to benefit from or be affected by their actions, right down to those on the lowest rungs of the social ladder and certainly not just those who have an overblown sense of entitlement.
That is why this contemptuous, arrogant, even racist decision of the council to reject Minister Shane Jones's offer must be overturned.
It is simply a misuse of authority that has no place in a modern society which unfortunately suffers from a crippling state of dependency, and will continue to do so as long as these irrational contributions keep being forced upon us.
It is time to say “Enough!” Do the job we elected you to do!
I have worked closely with the Coast iwi community over the past 40 years. I understand what makes them tick, their aspirations, their magnificent culture and their understanding of what needs to happen for businesses to flourish and families to benefit.
This community has all the necessary skills to make things happen, and particularly the all-important ability to recognise a rare opportunity that can be turned to advantage.
So, it is sad for me to stand by and watch “iwi politics” dictate the outcome of a debate that should never have happened.
For the Deputy Mayor, councillors and members of the runanga leadership who agree with his pronouncements to allow this unelected but apparently influential group of selfish isolationists to blackmail the remainder of the Tairawhiti community, it is a betrayal of your office.
They should either return to the negotiating table with the Government, making amends for their lapse in judgement by committing to discussions seeking an outcome that will put our plans for economic development back on track, or resign en masse, allowing others to pick up the pieces while there is still time.
After all, aren't we supposed to be being kind to one another?