Driverless bus arrived un- announced


Monday evening and the vehicle to deliver the public discussion on the report of Unitary Authorities in Northland rumbled into town. Many commented, minimal notice was given in regards to this important meeting, as all we saw was a small insert at the tail end of an editorial in the Whangarei Leader. The two ‘drivers’ of this bus, the mayor’s of the Far North and Whangarei District Councils, had missed this journey and were unable to hear first hand concerns from the people that they had been elected to represent. Or were their ideas already cast in stone and others opinions are of no concern?  Many questions were fired at Peter McKinlay, the project manager and principal author of the report commissioned by the two mayors. Unaided, Peter replied, we believe honestly, sometimes admitting that he had not personally experienced dealings with the four councils in Northland on issues of either attending public council meetings, making a submission and experiencing the process, applying for a resource consent or applying for information through the Official Information Act. but acting on information provided rather than first hand to produce the report. These are some of the issues that have an effect on how the public perceive their council. When asked for a show of hands on the Trust of Councils only one hand meekly was raised to support the trust of Whangarei District Council while a large number had trust in the Northland Regional Council. In hindsight maybe the public consultation process needs to be the start of the community wishes before the wheelbarrows of a few in power leave the shed.

Warren Slater