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Strategic path being dictated to us

Opinion Piece

While it is obvious that the climate change debate will remain the main topic of conversation for at least some time, that isn't a valid reason to not concern ourselves with issues confronting this parish that have equal capacity, if not more, to influence the future of those living within our regional boundaries.

What we need to be talking about and seeking resolution to are topics where we, as a community, have the ability to leverage on strategies that we know will work.

It seems rather pointless to be making a big show of how we have redesigned the strategic planning module of our economic development agency to include little more than words and a promise to do better with its oversight of our wellbeing.

We should have learned from the betrayal we experienced during the Tuia 250/Te Ha commemorations that this is what you get when you allow people with agendas foreign to our heritage to dictate what is to become of us.

I found the condoning by our leaders of the offensive, revisionist presentations by activist Maori particularly troubling, and something those who participated in it should be ashamed of.

Since the name and strategic planning changes announced for Trust Tairawhiti last year, are we supposed to believe that the Gnomes of Tairawhiti will direct operations and deliver policies that are in our best interests? On past performance — probably not!

Who is going to suggest that they might be operating beyond their brief? They can do what they like and nobody will be held to account if it all descends into a disaster.

Evidence supporting my claims is littered across the region for all to see.

Don't be surprised if my neck is the next on the block for pointing this out.

Frankly, l don't care any more what people say about me, although it would be nice to have the opportunity to be part of a meaningful discussion about our submissions to the Spatial Plan 2050 — which has been promised by the council, but at this stage looks like being little more than a token gesture. My experience of presenting at these hearings is that they are the most disingenuous creation of the local government calendar.

Councillors are not known for acknowledging that there may be the odd serf out in the wop wops who has a few ideas that might be worthy of consideration.

So we are left with a continuation of the traditional charade that will likely see little change to the strategic planning scripted by the architects at Trust Tairawhiti.

The end result will be a disappointing loss of opportunity.

If reluctance to support the creation of a special economic zone in the northern part of Tairawhiti, and the attendant attempt at stitching up a deal with a Chinese investor to build a wood processing plant in Gisborne — at the expense of other more productive proposals — are examples of this agency's constructive thinking then we should all be very concerned.

I am worried it is becoming apparent, even to the casual observer, that our future planning is currently in the hands of people who lack the experience and ability to identify the issues that should warrant the highest priority.

How else can we explain their dismissal of the reality that this community, ie that part of the region north of Uawa/Tolaga Bay, is in a constant state of dependency and will not change from that position unless the state intervenes to use its influence restructuring the local economy.

The saviour is at hand and we want to tell him to get lost!

Go figure!