Kirikiriroa pro­posal a no-goer

Waikato Times - - Front Page - LIBBY WIL­SON

It’s look­ing like a no to Kirikiriroa City Coun­cil.

News of Hamil­ton Mayor An­drew King’s sug­gested name change spread fast on Mon­day, gen­er­at­ing hun­dreds of on­line com­ments and poll clicks.

Most of them are say­ing no, along with city coun­cil­lors – one of whom said the idea was a whim that was ‘‘mak­ing Hamil­ton look like a cir­cus’’.

But other on­line com­menters point out Tainui never gave per­mis­sion for Kirikiriroa to be­come Hamil­ton in the first place.

King might have his work cut out to win po­lit­i­cal sup­port, as his coun­cil col­leagues think a name change is a bad idea – at least for now.

Con­cerns about the cost and the be­lief that coun­cil had big­ger fish to fry were a re­cur­ring theme, though five coun­cil­lors were open to dis­cussing the idea once the long-term plan was out of the way.

But the city would have to change its name first, coun­cil­lor An­gela O’Leary said.

‘‘[Lo­cal gov­ern­ment] leg­is­la­tion stip­u­lates that cities must have ‘city coun­cil’ in the name and then the name of the city . . . How can this ad­vice not have been given to the mayor? And I have to ask my­self: What is this dis­trac­tion re­ally about?’’

The ‘‘un-needed dis­trac­tion’’ caught ev­ery­one on the hop, Cr James Cas­son said.

‘‘We owe it to the ratepayer to work hard on try­ing to keep the rates in­crease down and put them and the city’s in­ter­ests first, not en­ter­tain some whim that is quite frankly mak­ing Hamil­ton look like a cir­cus.’’

Cr Ge­off Tay­lor was of a sim­i­lar mind. ‘‘It’s so not a pri­or­ity that I think it’s lu­di­crous to even raise it as an op­tion right now,’’ he said.

And Cr Leo Tooman couldn’t see a rea­son to change the name when coun­cil had al­ways been known as Hamil­ton City Coun­cil.

That’s the term peo­ple would gen­er­ally use in English, Deputy Mayor Martin Gal­lagher said, but peo­ple could use the Kirikiriroa ver­sion in te reo.

He dis­agreed with the mayor’s sugges­tion but sup­ported work al­ready un­der way to bet­ter cel­e­brate Ma¯ ori her­itage and lan­guage.

The most tongue-in-cheek take came from Cr Mark Bunting, who be­lieves it’s the wrong time to talk about chang­ing to Kirikiriroa.

‘‘I am a wee bit of­fended,’’ he said, ‘‘be­cause I did sug­gest many months ago re­nam­ing Hunt­ing­ton to Bunt­ing­ton and this has jumped the queue!’’

About 1700 peo­ple had re­sponded to an un­sci­en­tific Stuff poll by Thurs­day af­ter­noon, and 80 per cent pre­ferred to re­main with the Hamil­ton City Coun­cil moniker.

A sec­ond poll, on Neigh­bourly, had a sim­i­lar re­sult: 87 per cent of the 153 vot­ers wanted Hamil­ton to stay.

The New Zealand Tax­pay­ers’ Union launched a pe­ti­tion against the name change. The group urged the mayor to deal with ‘‘Hamil­ton’s rates cri­sis’’ and warned that changes can be ex­pen­sive. The com­par­a­tively smaller Strat­ford District Coun­cil bud­geted at least

$65,000 to change its logo, and Auck­land’s tourism agency spent

$500,000 up­dat­ing its slo­gan.

On­line com­ments were nu­mer­ous and mostly against the idea.

One Neigh­bourly com­menter said the name Kirkiriroa only cov­ered part of Hamil­ton.

An­other summed up the mood of many: ‘‘Don’t waste money on un­nec­es­sary changes. Won’t need to raise the rates then.’’

The prospect of two years of 9.5 per cent rate rises was on the mind of many Face­book com­menters.

‘‘Rather than spend­ing 1000s on a new name,’’ wrote one, ‘‘can we just start with mow­ing the parks and walk­ways please? Ba­sic needs be­fore lux­ury wants, thanks.’’ Sev­eral sug­gested the move was to dis­tract peo­ple from rates rises and coun­cil fi­nances.

For oth­ers, it was a mat­ter of logic. ‘‘You live in the Waikato, you have a Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

‘‘You live in Hamil­ton, so you have a Hamil­ton City Coun­cil. It isn’t rocket sci­ence,’’ said one on­line com­menter.

But some com­menters were in favour, in­clud­ing one who said the change would stop the city be­ing con­fused with other Hamil­tons in the world.

An­other said it was up to the lo­cal Ma¯ ori com­mu­nity.

‘‘If it goes back to the Ma¯ ori name, em­brace it. Who cares about the cost for putting things right? Bet coun­cils waste a lot of money on stupid things – spend it on some­thing pro­gres­sive.’’

They were backed up by a fur­ther com­ment which pointed out Tainui never gave per­mis­sion for the town’s name to be changed to Hamil­ton.

‘‘It’s so not a pri­or­ity that I think it’s lu­di­crous to even raise it as an op­tion right now.’’

Cr Ge­off Tay­lor

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.