PASS­ING THE BA­TON

The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

In New Zealand, we have no manda­tory term limit for elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

That is a pity be­cause there are clearly some peo­ple on boards, coun­cils or in Par­lia­ment who seem to believe that they should stay there for­ever.

They may think have many rea­sons for their po­si­tion such as they still have un­fin­ished busi­ness to do (un­less the world is at an end isn’t that al­ways go­ing to be the case?).

Or they may believe, though they will un­likely say so, that their good judge­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence are essen­tial to for the good func­tion­ing of the body they are an elected to.

With­out them, it’ll all go to pot. Such be­lief shows lit­tle hu­mil­ity and even less con­fi­dence in one’s fel­low cit­i­zens.

In real­ity, I believe some of th­ese peo­ple are afraid to step down and let new blood in­fuse the or­gan­i­sa­tion they’re part of. Be­ing an elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive gives a per­son sta­tus. One gets in­vited to all sorts of events and func­tions.

Peo­ple want to know your opin­ion. Some send you greet­ings cards. Doors are opened, fig­u­ra­tively at least.

Some­times you have to make im­por­tant de­ci­sions. It all has the ef­fect of mak­ing elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives feel im­por­tant and I think some peo­ple are afraid to no longer feel im­por­tant.

And oth­ers, I sus­pect, fear the loss of in­come which is a pretty good sup­ple­ment to their other in­come, be that di­rectly earned or su­per­an­nu­a­tion. Still oth­ers, I think, can’t tear them­selves away be­cause they fear hav­ing in­suf­fi­cient else to do.

I find this all a great pity as th­ese peo­ple have had their chance to in­flu­ence their com­mu­nity through their elected po­si­tion.

It’s time they handed over the ba­ton to oth­ers, in­stead of us­ing the huge ad­van­tage that in­cum­bents have at elec­tion time to get re-elected sim­ply be­cause they are known names.

We have peo­ple on the city coun­cil and the re­gional coun­cil who have been there for plenty long enough, yet they don’t seem to recog­nise it. I won­der which of the above cat­e­gories they fit in?

Chris Teo-Sher­rell, Palmer­ston North

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