A cun­ning plan . . .

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

The coun­cil has a plan. The health board has a plan. The re­gional coun­cil, bless it, has money com­ing out of its ears, and ap­par­ently doesn’t have a plan. Re­gard­less, they all want your opin­ion, just to be sure their plan is the right one.

So how do you make a sub­mis­sion to some­thing as heavy-duty as a health board strate­gic plan? What can you and I know that pla­toons of health spe­cial­ists, and pol­icy an­a­lysts and clin­i­cians, and the Health Min­istry don’t al­ready know?

You could ask what their plan has to say about your neigh­bour who can’t get hip surgery, and is so im­mo­bile she can’t do her own shop­ping. You could ask why there’s no emer­gency ser­vice in lots of places in in­land Otago, but there is in oth­ers – in­clud­ing a re­ally good one in Dunedin. You could ask how they plan to mea­sure all the un­met health needs in your area, and what they will do with the re­sults. You could ask about the fu­ture of Dunedin (and Dun­stan, and Frank­ton) hos­pi­tals – what ser­vices will they pro­vide in fu­ture?

Think about what you know to be wrong, in your fam­ily, or neigh­bour­hood, and ask ques­tions about those things.

They won’t give you any an­swers, but if enough of us ask those awk­ward ques­tions, they may just be­gin to won­der whether their plan is the right one.

● Mal­colm Macpher­son teaches ap­plied business ex­cel­lence at Otago Poly­tech­nic, is a USqual­i­fied business as­ses­sor, and writes on business top­ics for the mag­a­zine of the NZ Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Qual­ity. He was Mayor of Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict from 2001 to 2010. Re­duc­ing the cost of do­ing business, by mak­ing it eas­ier to get con­sents for projects with ‘‘eco­nomic ben­e­fits’’, is high on coun­cil and Gov­ern­ment radars.

The idea is that sim­pler, faster con­sent pro­cesses will make us all bet­ter off.

The ar­gu­ment is of­ten framed up as ‘‘pro­gres­sive business peo­ple’’ be­ing blocked and de­layed by ‘‘en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and com­mu­nity NIMBYs’’. Aurora’s re­cent ap­pli­ca­tion to build a new sub­sta­tion be­side the Hawea River shows how this plays out in

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