Plan to axe committees a major step backwards
Our Mayor’s plan to axe the four committees our councillors use to discuss and debate key issues doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Sounds like they’ll be replaced by a council meeting a month plus an Audit and Risk Committee backfilled with handpicked ‘business people’. The implication being that these ‘business people’ have the financial expertise we need to run our district ‘properly’, unlike the councillors we voted in a few weeks ago. Thirty relentless years of new right thinking have normalised the idea that we need more business in everything. We hardly recognise it as an ideological position anymore. More business in government brought us the asset sales farce. The low turnout and low prices achieved through the Meridian share float make a mockery of the idea this will automatically give us good financial outcomes. The process stripped share value out of the system and it’s failed to convinceMum and Dad investors that the sharemarket is a better strategy than lotto, the pokies or home ownership. Perhaps speculators have their limitations, just like other citizens. Participatory democracy is supposed to involve a wide range of people
Councillors with diverse backgrounds in education, social work, government service, comms, media, small business and the law are an asset, not a liability.
in community decision making. That way all sorts of perspectives get taken into account. Councillors with diverse backgrounds in education, social work, government service, comms, media, small business and the law are an asset, not a liability. Good government serves the public good, mediating between the various civil and commercial interests in society. With the CEO and our Mayor already coming down on the business side of the fence, maybe the people stood, and voted for, candidates that would act as a counterweight to balance decision making. Animal Farm readers will recall the moment of truth when the pigs and the men couldn’t be told apart anymore. How blurred do we want the boundaries between business and our government? ◗ Sue Coutts lives in Hawea Flat, manages Wanaka Wastebusters and is interested in almost everything.