We are very disappointed with the decision from the local body commission. Having lost the rural representation that has been the founding part of forming the Gisborne District Council. When the smaller councils amalgamated it was with the understanding that the dedicated rural voice would not be lost. Well, it has only taken 30 odd years for that to happen.
As a rural voter, I have valued the fact that I have had a councillor who understands what is happening on the land, and who understands what the impacts of decisions made at a council level will mean for me as a rural person. What I fear will happen now is we will have a revolving door of councillors who come to community events in the wider district if they come at all. There is no desire to continually have to retell the story of the issues you are having or the importance of the event you are hosting. Rural people will stop bothering to ask for a representative to turn up. It is because of the lack of continuity that will be there, I can already hear the excuses now, I went up last time it’s someone else’s turn, and blah blah blah.
The urban-based councillors have made their decrees very clear – They wanted rural people to be able to vote for them. They will be hard pushed for me to vote for a single one of them baring the deputy mayor I have seen how they have voted through policy that is urban-centric at the expense of us rural people.
We barely stood a chance with 4 dedicated voices now we run the very real risk of having none.
If rural people only vote for those who they believe will have their best interests at heart and urban people do the same. then the weight of the urban vote will crush the rural ones.
It is not a fair battle.
To our soon to depart Rural based councillors. THANK YOU for your dedication to our communities. To Pat and Bill especially: your contribution up the coast has been excellent. You are legends and words can not describe adequately the gratitude we owe you. We hope you will continue on in this new format and keep pushing for common sense within the council on our behalf.
Those urban-based councillors that have continually claimed you know how to represent us and know our needs. Understand this we are watching and waiting we plan to record your participation in our communities. It would pay to go and buy some red bands, rather than the jelly gumboots you already own and rub a bit of mud on them before you turn up. We expect you to be part of our communities involve yourselves with us, get to know us, and understand what makes this region and us tick. Your words are not enough we need to see your actions.
Now is as good a time as any to get out into our badly damaged communities and lend a hand. If you want to know where to go and what to do – Get in touch with me I can help point you to where the need is.
Hopefully, I don’t die waiting by the phone.