When I look at the new line-up of our new City Council, we have what seems to be potentially a really good mix. I say potentially because politicians being true to form all start with the best of intentions, but somehow the aphrodisiac of power seems to take over many politicians’ minds. It is essential that we have people at our Council table who are able to think strategically and lead our City into new places.
Every one of the interviewees in the article below talked about lower rates, which is a laudable goal. However, they all then talked about new things which they wanted to see on the Council spending list. If they want lower rates, then many things currently on the Council budgets need to be removed. This exercise is a difficult one. Whenever elected reps try to remove funding at the Annual Plan process, they kick over a hornet’s nest. The real skill for an elected rep is to tell what is genuine grief in the community at losing something special which has been fought hard to achieve; and when the institution does not like elected reps meddling in what those within it see as “theirs”.
Having found the “theirs” type of spending elected reps must stick to their guns and remove that item for ever; this enables new spending options to be considered. The key financial skill in public life is to learn how to ration money. There is never enough money to meet all the demands which flow through the front doors, internet connections and phones of the City Council. To ration successfully, our elected reps have to be quite black hearted from time to time. There will be, no, must be, debate about what goes off and onto the Council budgets. That is the sign of a real democracy.
Here’s a link to a good article in the Press yesterday about our newly elected Councillors https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/116633666/diverse-new-group-to-take-seats-around-christchurch-city-council-table.
In concluding, its interesting how fast politicians are forgotten. The saying “today’s roosters, tomorrow’s feather dusters” is so true. This was proven this last week when the Prime Minister distanced herself from the recently dispatched Wellington Mayor. She couldn’t even remember that he was a member of the Labour Party. He was a feather duster, assigned to the rubbish dump by Monday afternoon’s Prime Minister’s Press Conference!