LTP — a contradiction in terms
by Clive Bibby
In order to understand the relevance of a Long Term Plan, ratepayers must have faith in council’s (elected, non-elected representatives and permanent staff) ability and commitment to implementation.
It is after all (if we are to believe all the hype about encouraging and welcoming presentations from the public), arguably the most important attempt at dialogue with the men and women on the street undertaken every three years.
We are invited and encouraged to have our say and assured that all opinions will be treated with respect, irrespective of who is making the submission or whatever the topic they have chosen. (See Gisborne Herald editorial, April 1.)
If only it were true. Sadly, you’d have to be a supreme optimist to believe that it might be.
You don’t have to be particularly bright to understand the parameters that will determine what we can and cannot do, given the limited options we have at our disposal. However, even though we do face serious threats to our existence, it isn’t all bad news.
In reality this is not a straight jacket, as some would have us believe. The very fact that we appear to have survived the Covid pandemic in better shape than most suggests we are in a position that allows us to be bold, even though our limited natural resources will confine our activities to a small group of development projects that will only succeed with substantial central government financial input.
It will all depend on the vision for growth demonstrated in the next version of the LTP.
And that will be determined by councillors in particular showing a lot more foresight than they have in the past. They will need to abandon their demonstrably preferential treatment of some influential groups who want nothing more than to continue living in a manner to which they have become accustomed, with you and l the ratepayers picking up the bill.
That sort of reprehensible behaviour can no longer be tolerated if we are serious about choosing a pathway that will benefit all people living within the Tairawhiti regional boundaries.
So, let’s get down to the sort of projects that are not only necessary for achieving those goals, but are also the ones that will be easiest to complete — based on the support we can expect from our political masters.
You will note that l am trying to establish objectives that are in harmony with Government plans for the rest of the country. We simply can’t do it any other way.
But given this council’s disingenuous record and previous betrayals, l guess it is asking a bit much to expect them to acknowledge the reality of our position by only including items in the LTP that are doable, but are also the ones that will have the greatest impact on our economic and physical survival as a sovereign region.
We must not lose hope but, for the above to happen, all items must satisfy the criteria that sets them apart from the other “nice to have” projects that we have focused on for too long.
The current climate dictates that they should all:
* be an integral part of our development plans in mitigation against the threat to our economy from climate change.
* where possible, take advantage of state funding offers — particularly if the project is likely to help remove significant parts of the district from a state of dependency that puts too much of a burden on our scarce financial resources through an expanded rates bill.
* benefit as many sectors of the community as possible and continue to do so long after the initial construction stages are completed.