Western Route has a conductor in waiting

An under advertised Dargaville meeting on the report of Unitary Authorities in Northland by Peter McKinley had indeed a very tense atmosphere on Wednesday evening. A local publisher Allan Mortensen, had suggested on advice he had received from the Hon John Carter, Associate Minister of Local Government, that a simple A4 letter signed by the three Mayors of Northland and Chair of Northland Regional Council making a request to government to look at the restructuring of local government for the needs of Northland was all that was necessary. Alarmed, was an understatement of Peterís reaction to these comments, possibly undermining his sentiments and the need of his report. With two of the drivers, who initiated this report, absent again from this 3rd meeting, one must wonder how absent from their tour of duty they can be, before becoming redundant.Mayor Tiller and Chairman Farnsworth both in attendance watched the demise of civility in the meeting when the Whangarei CEO tried to intimidate a resident who was asking questions making assumptions that they had an association with one of the council authorities and was also a partner to one of them. Didnít he? My wife, Pat, along with others, claimed his questioning was irrelevant, the person was a ratepayer and it was a public meeting with questions and comments been invited by the presenter. Back under some control, the meeting proceeded with the interesting fact that 30 people had been interviewed in Northland to assess its needs. We must ask, is this a fair representation of fractions of the community stakeholders on their future of local governance? It appears that the wishes of a few who instigated the options in this report, could without citizen intervention, incur potentially higher rates in the future. If itís cast in stone, we will probably need deeper pockets as there is no proof of any costs, having more or less impact on ratepayers.


Warren Slater