Carterton District Councillor Jill Greathead hopes to promote love-based politics in the community. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

 

EMILY NORMAN

Carterton District councillor Jill Greathead has always been interested in “love-based” politics.

But it has been the coming of the new year that has inspired her new initiative which would work towards achieving that in the region.

Wairarapa Heart, a movement which she says would work towards a “compassionate, thriving, sustainable, and spiritual Wairarapa”, will provide people in the community with a forum to discuss needs and ideas for the community in a non-threatening and familiar way.

“It will be all about the communication with people,” she said.

“After 16 years on council I’ve seen first-hand that when it comes to long term plans, annual plans, special consultation procedures, consultation, very few people bother to take notice.

“No one ever comes to meetings or workshops.

“It’s just not appealing. It’s not familiar, and they use words that nobody understands.”

She said it was the council’s role to ensure that the basic systems and assets in the community were in order, and that it should be encouraged to empower people in the community to make changes on a grassroots level.

“I’ve had great response [to Wairarapa Heart], and I think the new year is a great time to launch something along these lines,” Mrs Greathead said.

“The feedback I have received is that Wairarapa Heart should be the antithesis of a council meeting.

“There will not be minutes, there will not be apologies, and it will not be extremely exclusive.

“It is hoped this forum will connect people who feel alienated by politics with a lack of trust in our bureaucracies.”

Mrs Greathead said she had come out the other end of 2017 “battle-worn” after the “amalgamation issue”, and wanted to empower people who were “allergic to politics” to take up an interest in improving their communities.

“The first three parts of my vision — compassionate, thriving, sustainable — people clearly understand, and it’s already in everyday language.

“The last one, ‘spiritual’, which I know will exclude some people, I have kept in the vision, because I believe we need a forum that acknowledges that spirituality is part of healing our communities.

“Karakia is used in most formal meetings now so this is not an unusual concept.”

Wairarapa Heart will meet at Heart of Arts in Carterton at 6.30pm on the first Thursday of each month, starting on February 1.

It will act as a “twin” forum to Wairarapa Voice and people are asked to bring a gold coin as koha for the venue hire.

Mrs Greathead said the forum was open to anyone who resonated with a “compassionate approach to caring for our communites… with spirituality underpinning this”.

She has initiated this group as a private citizen, not as a Carterton District councilor or as the manager of Volunteering Wairarapa.