This week Taieri Times begins a series from members
of the Mosgiel-Taieri community board. The board of six was
Mosgiel and the Taieri is the best place to live.
We have it all.
The weather, the community spirit, the friendliness of our
citizens, excellent schools.
But we do lack some things, like a swimming pool open 12
months of the year.
We have heavy trucks passing through our town, with more
We still have flooding issues in the main street and East
We need more retail shopping in our main shopping centre.
We also need more jobs.
We have industrial land (some owned by the city) that needs
to be promoted through council's economic strategy.
We have to unite as a community and tell the council that we
are here and alive and that we want our fair share of the
The squeaky wheel gets the oil and it is up to all of us to
One of the best ways is to tell us, your community board,
your concerns and ideas.
We who are elected will take those points which we see as
having merit to council.
But we need your ideas.
I look forward to working with our community to achieve an
even better place to live.
As an individual who has served 24 years as a local body
councillor (three as deputy Dunedin mayor) and 21 on
community boards, I bring ... historical and institutional
knowledge to the board table.
That said, I acknowledge the value of that knowledge is
limited by the board's non-decision-making status.
Community boards were established during local government
reorganisation as a ''sop'' to those who resisted
amalgamation on grounds the abolition of boroughs and
counties would deliver a body blow to the ''special
identity'' of established districts.
Local authorities of the day were largely peopled by
grey-haired elected members exhausted by the unrelenting
pressure to surrender their district's identity to the new
concept and were largely persuaded to buy into the deal.
I resort to conjecture, that so ''battle weary'' were the
elected members of the day, they simply failed to notice this
new beast would have absolutely no decision-making powers -
their function would be limited to the toothless role of
community advocates, because the parent council was under no
statutory obligation to take their advocacy seriously.
So why bother?
At first glance, being an elected member of a community board
is futile, but as an elected member I can mitigate against my
powerlessness by exploiting my intrinsic knowledge.
Few have a wider understanding of basic local body law than
I, and when councillors want to embark on the witless
pursuits of ''borrow and hope'', they might find me in their
Council debt escalated 600% since I left council.
I shall not support a single capital project that involves