The reason I am putting my hand up is because I am concerned about the direction the Council is heading. For over fifteen years I have been on the tourism board, established the Eco-fest trust, directed twelve Organic River Festivals, and I am involved with several environmental groups. I have had many dealings with HDC.
The Good – You have to give credit to Council for the parks and sports grounds, Dog Park and Adventure Playground. These are the types of cost effective attractions and facilities we need to build on but our biggest assets by a country mile are the natural resources which can be enhanced at a fraction of what it costs to erect buildings. To make this region prosper we have to enhance the natural beauty of the mountains, rivers, lake and beaches and stop reckless spending on bricks and mortar. (see economy @ tourism)
The Bad – There are two sides to every story. We are continually given the Council’s side through press releases and glossy publications but if you scratch the surface things are not what they seem. Over the years we have seen some disturbing trends with local government. Empire building and media control is rife, the democratic community structure has been replaced with a corporate structure. public servants have been replaced with an army of officials and council debt has gone through the roof due to a culture of indulgence. Investigative journalism has been replaced by Council employed spin doctors and the majority of council workers don’t even live in the Horowhenua!
Remember when Councils were run by locals and their job was to look after the infrastructure. Remember when elected Councillors were allowed to make comments in the newspaper without censorship and council meetings were transparent. Now most of the important decisions that involve spending millions of our dollars are held in secret under the guise of commercial sensitivity.
And the Ugly – We are now one of the most polluted regions in the country. All of Kapiti’s unscreened rubbish is Dumped at Hokio. The accumulated filth from Councils upstream ends up at Foxton via the Manawatu River. Our waterways are being polluted by Council’s who are doing secret deals behind closed doors to favour big business. Horowhenua’s history of environmental abuse is an absolute disgrace. This sort of primitive thinking stems from the old pioneering days when the environment was seen as something to conquer and exploit. (read more)
A growing awareness is now emerging of how we can live in harmony with the environment without polluting it but the old boys network are hanging on to the old ways. In America the President is given two terms max…for very good reason. Numerous studies have shown that people in Power go to office in with the best of intentions but if they stay in that position for too long they obsessively focus on remaining in power and forget about the people they represent… We desperately need a change of guard and culture that can bring the Council up to speed.
Vote – Malcolm Hadlum, for a better lifestyle and Michael Fehen for Mayor.