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Animosity over Beyer sculpture is no surprise

Although it’s a shame there’s apparently been such a negative reaction to the Carterton District Council [CDC] proposal to erect a memorial sculpture of the late Georgina Beyer – who served as Carterton mayor, and then as a member of parliament – it’s surely not a huge surprise.

Having grown up here, what was surprising to this writer at the time Beyer won the mayoralty was that she’d even come within cooee of wearing the chains of office. For all its virtues, the Wairarapa had never – to these eyes, in any case – made a strong showing of being a particularly progressive place. The result seemed to come from so far out of left field that it was surely an anomaly.

Perhaps the good burghers of Carterton had sized up Beyer in much the same way that Invercargill residents had Tim Shadbolt when he ran for mayor there, correctly judging that such a colourful character would bring their town some much-needed attention?

Then, when Beyer successfully ran for the Wairarapa electorate MP role in 1999 – a position she held for one term [the rest of her time in Parliament was as a list MP], that theory required some reassessment.

Speaking with a number of people still resident in the region, the impression gained was that – having had the opportunity to get to know Beyer, who ensured she and her life to date were an open book to perspective voters – the generally phlegmatic population of Wairarapa liked the cut of her jib.

As one of her close acquaintances would later suggest, she showed people her heart, and eventually, that is all they saw [well, a majority of those casting a vote, anyway].

So what to make of the negative feedback about the CDC proposal?

First off, it would appear that some objectors in Carterton only saw the Times-Age headline – ‘Beyer statue to be considered by Carterton council’ – and wrongly assumed the cost [estimated at $300k-$500k] would be carried by ratepayers already groaning under the weight of the current levy.

But that isn’t the case – as per our first report, the proposal assumes the cost will be covered by external fundraising [it will be a fine day indeed when people resist the urge to go off about stories they haven’t bothered to read].

A related issue for some people who did read the article seems to be that fundraising for a Beyer memorial would end up siphoning off money that would otherwise be donated to other community projects. While that is a possibility, it seems more likely that a statue of a figure of Beyer’s stature would attract funds from sources unlikely to be tapped by other local efforts.

Leaving aside the out-and-out bigots [that rare breed of person who actually earns the term ‘transphobe’], it seems like a pretty good bet that some of the animosity animating apparent opposition to the Beyer proposal is the association people may have made between her and ‘trans rights’, an issue that’s taken a truly toxic turn of late [certainly her name has been invoked in the past year or so by several ‘trans activists’ who insist that any misgivings about their demands are tantamount to ‘violence’].

That would be a real shame if that’s the case because, before she died, Beyer had plenty of misgivings about the trans movement’s ‘direction of travel’ too.

Perhaps the time has come to canvas some of them in the near future…?

1 COMMENT

  1. Love the leftist thinking 🤔 everyone WRONG EXCEPT THEM. It’s a sad 😔 day when when FREE AND OPEN THOUGHTS BY THE COMMUNITY IS 😢 SHOT DOWN BY SOCIALISM TACTICS. The new government is WRONG the Citizens who voted for them WRONG the community and thoughts 🤔 are WRONG.

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