PASSING THE BATON
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