ADVOCATE COLUMN 2nd WEEK SEPTEMBER 2016
While so far uninspired with the level of dialogue around this year’s local body elections I am hoping it early days and things will improve as all candidates move into campaign mode. What is interesting is some of the language being used and I am hoping it is just a case of political rhetoric rather than an actual belief. In particular statements such as managing the council or running the council surprise me because I was under the impression that management roles involve submitting a job application rather standing as a ward councillor to fill a role which is or should be about providing strategic direction and community representation on a governance body.
Business people and just about everyone else want the place where they live, work and play to be the best possible. They want a city or town with a future and for their council to state what it looks like and how they are going to make it happen. Reliable infrastructure including roads, water, sewerage, public spaces, parks and parking are just the necessary prerequisites.
It needs to be easy to do business with our Council. Regulations, compliance and consenting must be development-friendly. We want our Council to build a culture that is quick to facilitate action, not put up barriers.
There are a number of behaviours a council should demonstrate that would be beneficial to business in the region. For our businesses to succeed and compete in today’s global economy we need our Council to link up with our Chamber of Commerce and other business organisations to work together to attract investment to build our local economy and attract tourists. To do this we need a Council that is focussed on business growth, understands the competitive advantages, strengths and weaknesses of our region, and has a strategy that recognises what we are good at, builds on it, and recognise any weaknesses or gaps that need closing.
This list goes on but given the word limits I will leave it there for now with the observation that a call to action, a request for someone to vote for you, to have you represent them at a governance level of an organisation that will influence their future; should at the very least require the candidate to inspire them and to date I am still waiting. I would suggest that the best piece of commentary I have seen in recent times on what a councillor’s role actually is can be found on local blog site of whangareielections.wordpress.com.