Hospital, census and election on 2013 list
Welcome to the New Year.
Writing this, as I did, before Christmas, I had no idea what the weather would be doing in January.
So I can only hope that the holidays have not been spoiled by unseasonal rain, wind or cold.
It won’t be long before the roads are clogged again with traffic, school will start and the whole bun rush of life returns to normal.
But there are some things happening this year which may exercise our brains and maybe even stir us into action.
The first item was going to be the Accident and Medical overnight service at Kenepuru Hospital, but from newspaper reports early in December, it seems the issue has been shelved for the moment. However, there is no guarantee that it will not rise from the ashes again.
Promises were made that the public would be consulted on the issue.
Were we sufficiently consulted, do you think?
Cost cutting is all very well – no family, town or government organisation should be throwing money around in these straitened times – but what about the effect of the cost cutting on the local population?
Incidentally, why is it that when the powers-that-be start talking about hospitals in the Wellington region, they men- tion Masterton, Hutt and Wellington hospitals and almost always leave out Kenepuru? The next item which will be engaging our attention will be the census, delayed for two years because of the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.
This is a very interesting process, involving an enormous amount of organisation in the few months before the census date which this year is Tuesday, March 5.
Many people dislike answering the questions on the census paper, partly because they fear that their personal information is made available to anyone who might like to look for it.
However, unlike other government agencies which have access to our personal details, Statistics is independent.
The personal details such as name, date of birth, address, income and the like are not connected anywhere in the system.
It is the numbers of each category of each answer which are important.
It is the only way, really, of gauging the future needs of the population with regard to education, health, law and order, and so on.
Everyone who works on delivering census papers or dealing with them when they arrive back at the Department is sworn to confidentiality concerning personal details with which they may become acquainted in the course of their duties.
This year, there is an online version of the questionnaire available – secure, quick and easy, we are told.
And last, but definitely not least, are the local body elections at the end of the year.
It is to be hoped that those pushing for a Wellington super-city will not succeed in their intention of getting this set up by October. But who knows?
In any event, will we be treated like Aucklanders, many of whom had little say in the process of becoming one super power? Or will we be like Nelson/Tasman, the vote of whose citizens stymied an amalgamation? Which would we prefer?
The main point is that we need to get off our couches, stand up, jump up and down and make ourselves heard, whatever our point of view.
Plastic not fantastic: Cutting up your credit cards is a good first step towards eliminating debt in 2013.