WHAT’S ON IN COUNCIL THIS WEEK
THE regional transport committee has a deliberative session this week but I’m not clear on the details. Otherwise we’re waiting on next week’s full council meeting, where we will look to tidy up our “quick fix” for those rates problems.
This will fix the wild fluctuations we didn’t expect but there are some other problems we will have to address later.
Basically, I don’t disagree with Roger Haisman who puts it in the blunt way that farmers tend to — the chickens are coming home to roost. European countries spend too much money supporting an unsustainable lifestyle, we all know that. Our own Government can’t sustain current spending on superannuation, health, welfare, etc, most of us know that. The average New Zealand citizen spends more than he earns, many of us know that. And councils can’t continue to raise rates at the projected level.
Councils, at least our one, are tightening their belts better than most. But better than most is still not good enough. We all have to try harder to live within our means or the future we deliver to our grandchildren will be pretty uncomfortable. Trouble is, everyone seems to live in this dreamworld where anything is possible.
Christchurch people want everything to go back the way it was, cathedral included — even the homeowners who were uninsured!
And Gisborne rail, oh dear, my old man worked all his life on the railways, I’m a railway kid, never been in a car till I was a teenager, I love rail, but I’m also a realist — Gisborne had rail for 80 years or so, and I don’t think it ever paid its way, not in any year, ever.
I understand completely, the Government can’t keep spending on unsustainable things. Much as smokers are learning, the habit costs too much, gotta stop, it’s that simple.
Meanwhile, the media seems to be obsessed with Kim Dotcom. Do I care about Kim Dotcom? Go away! I’ve got a city to worry about, and a family, and a country, I couldn’t give a toss about Kim Dotcom.
On a somewhat nicer note, I want to pay tribute to the council staff, largely in the finance area, who have had to go way beyond the regular call of duty to find ways to address our rating problems.
It is pretty easy for councillors in comparison — we can sit there and grump and demand answers, it is the workers who have to come up with the goods.
More than most, I have some appreciation of the time, the unpaid overtime, the stress, the pressure to find answers to problems created by other people, not themselves. And it can’t have been a hell of a lot of fun for new chief executive Judy Campbell, either.
A newcomer to local government, hired for her fresh vision and her management skills rather than her knowledge of council operations, she might have hoped for a peaceful introduction and time to learn the peculiarities (and there are plenty — just ask any councillor how long it took to come to grips with the system) of the sector, but she walked into a storm.
Ah well, welcome to local body politics!