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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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So much to say in such a small space

“Why is writing this column so difficult?” I ask myself this time and again.

Firstly, one must select a topic that is interesting and newsworthy.

Then, there is the angle and tone. Should it be informative, positive, reflective, visionary, or provocative? Should it be about local Government issues? The changes and challenges from Central Government?

Should I talk about awesome work in Carterton, such as the Daleton Nursery Project, or highlight the amazing efforts of a community group like the Keep Carterton Beautiful Group, which has contributed outstanding service to our community?

Or is there something serious to set the record straight?

I guess if I was a trained writer, I’d have little problem selecting a topic and banging out an article. But I am not.

And with everything happening right now, there’s a lot to cover in a short opinion piece once every six weeks.

How do you include it all?

The latest from across the Wellington Region, requirements from a new Government, our Long-Term Plan process, the many mandated reviews we’re working through – from our Combined District Plan to Maori representation, a wider Representation Review, and Wairarapa Economic Strategy discussions.

That’s why I crave public participation.

We are consulting on the three-yearly review of our Long-Term Plan. My councillors and I have been at Carterton station, encouraging citizens to read our draft proposal and have their say.

So much has changed since 2021, and the challenges are serious. We need people to read the proposals and to comment.

We have opened our workshops and found out so much about our roading work this week. But only one person from the public turned up.

It’s the same at council meetings and with calls for submissions on our many, many reviews.

I know people have jobs, are very busy, and do not have the time to read it all.

But we would value even a few paragraphs on even one aspect of any proposal. We would also love our community to add its voice to nominate people for our Charles Rooking Carter Awards.

There are amazing people in our communities who continue to do incredible things.

I am particularly grateful to the many new businesses that opened in Carterton, who battled against the odds during covid-19 and who continue to employ people and serve our community in these very challenging times. I look forward to them being acknowledged.

The Awards are how we celebrate and recognise them.

I can’t let the opportunity pass to express my disappointment at Masterton District Council’s announcement not to advance the formation of a Wairarapa Council.

This came after 15 months of work, done in good faith, and it blindsided Carterton.

If my comments after the announcement upset certain councillors, who may not have been as completely informed as to what work had been done, then I apologise to them.

But I would like to remind them that lots of work has been done to get to this stage.

Following presentations from Dale Williams and my CEO, Geoff Hamilton, to all three councils, an agreement was made to develop a Working Group of the Deputy Mayors, CEOs, and senior councillors from each Council.

They were to work to the unanimous action point for a commitment from each Council that we “agree to plan to merge” [that was later modified by South Wairarapa District Council].

Our three Wairarapa Deputy Mayors presented to a Combined Council meeting in August, and I presented an overview of the Wairarapa Council’s Shared Contracts, Staff, and Programmes.

That’s all work on top of all the other mahi addressed above.

But it’s done, and I have been told with absolute clarity that there is no support at MDC for a Wairarapa Council.

I guess it’s time for me to move on.

There’s no sense in flogging a dead horse. But what do you think?

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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