Who’s listening ?            -  Northern Advocate – 12 May 2009

On Wednesday 6th May, in the Northern Advocate there was an article entitled ‘Lack of public opinion on plan’.  This was referring to little more than 100 submissions to the Whangarei District Council Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) having been received.   The very first paragraph of the article was, ‘Where have all the moaners gone…or the supporters, for that matter?’

Need one supply the answer?  No matter what anyone in council thinks of any given ratepayer, that person is entitled to (for want of a better word), moan, be treated with respect and feel free to voice their opinion.  Perhaps people are not being given enough information and are also feeling that some in positions of authority do not wish to listen.  A good enough reason for some of our town’s folk not to participate.  Articles and letters to the editor, in the newspapers, never seem to be short of material to publish ratepayer’s concerns.  The LTCCP process, being a requirement by law, is only one avenue of receiving information.  One would presume council reads and summarizes the concerns expressed in the media and give the issues their consideration.  Otherwise, one would have to wonder why not.

With people often leaving things till the last minute, being busy and all, the final tally of submissions will be interesting.  What surely is most important though,  is the quality of the submissions made.  Some people may have some very good points to get across and if anyone is willing to listen they may just hear that people actually agree with some of what the council is proposing to do, have good alternatives on some issues and are providing a good idea or two! 

I certainly look forward to attending the submission meetings and hearing what my fellow citizens have to say.  I am one that will be listening!

Pat Slater