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Political Opportunity

GUEST EDITORIAL By Trevor Ammundsen

Politicians who achieve a level of power in New Zealand, be that at National or Regional level, have a three-year window of opportunity. During that three years they can achieve greatness and respect by using their power to instigate policies or initiatives that significantly benefit the population they have been elected to serve. Or they can fail to do this; perhaps by getting bogged down in administrating the area they represent, perhaps by trying to be please everyone, or perhaps they just weren’t right for the job.

In thinking about which politicians did genuinely achieve something some names stood out. At the National level there was Norman Kirk who gave us the confidence to start thinking for ourselves when managing our foreign relationships; Robert Muldoon who set us on a path for energy independence and sustainability with the Think Big projects; Roger Douglas was an economic visionary who released the shackles of the previous administrations; Ruth Richardson who cemented these improvements with the Fiscal Responsibility Act; Doug Graham in setting in motion the process of Treaty of Waitangi settlements; Tariana Turia who had the mana and skills to set an independent path for Maori and develop benefits in the form of Whanau Ora, and Simon Bridges who achieved real benefits for the country with his Ten Roads of significance program. The list could be longer but not greatly.

Unfortunately the list of real failures is well populated, so much so that I do not have the space to note them all here. Some notable names do deserve mention such as Alamein Kopu, a beneficiary who showed how to get paid a great income without doing one iota of work; James Shaw who after six years in charge of Climate Change has done absolutely nothing to protect us from Climate Change; Phil Twyford, well for being Phil Twyford really; Jamie-Lee Ross for teaching our children that it is silly to shoot yourself in the foot and of course Jacinda Ardern; and I won’t speak about her governments policies, her farewell speech, and not facing the coming elections.

At a local level, the town upgrade, undertaken when Glenn Leach was our Mayor, saw a storm water system put in place that has helped protect our homes from the variable weather we experience. This work was undoubtedly enhanced by the contribution from Hopper Developments with the Waterways Development but the significant political push was definitely positive for our community.

The reason I have brought up this topic is because we have a local situation whereby a similar opportunity has been given to our new Mayor, Len Salt. Our region has had significant hits on our infrastructure, caused by weather events and Central Government disregard. Our roading needs serious work and investment as does the shore frontage which in many places needs protection from erosion.

Mayor Salt’s opportunity to significantly achieve for the Coromandel Region, is to develop a comprehensive plan for roading development; not limited to restructure following land slides but also including progressive moves such as lifting roads over flood plains, replacing all one lane bridges and adding more practical passing lanes to the main roads to keep the traffic moving. This ‘Plan’ needs to be made public and the Mayor should ask for the people’s support as this kind of support serves to strengthen his Plan. Then, of course, he needs to sell this to the Government entities that are there to complete the work defined in the Plan.

The second part of the opportunity for Mayor Salt is to commence saving our shore front, commencing with Buffalo Beach and Brophy Beach. I m sure there ar e any other places around the Coromandel. Likewise this needs a Plan for its completion, and a budget. This should be more straight forward for the Mayor as he does not need Central Government to fund the entire project, although a contribution would undoubtedly be welcomed. You never know, Shane Jones may come calling with a new Provincial Development fund next year and it would pay to be prepared to benefit from any such largesse.

It was pleasing to read Mayor Salt’s update in the Informer of 14 March where he stated that the TCDC has appointed a Recovery Manager who has two key areas of work, the development and implementation of a Transport Plan being one of these areas. We would expect this Plan to be more than just recovery and I am sure it will; but the main thing to acknowledge at this stage is that the Mayor has commenced realising the opportunity he has which will be beneficial to us all.

Caption: If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -- John Quincy Adams.

Winston Churchill --“…democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the others that have been tried.”


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