Attend a ‘workshop’ organised by Mayor Bill Dalton.
I attended my first official council function of 2014, a ‘workshop’ on reorganisation organised by the Napier City Council for all councillors and senior staff in Hawke’s Bay.
When a senior elected leader stood up at the conclusion of the meeting and said he had just wasted his afternoon, learning nothing, he was greeted with a smattering of applause, then dead silence. I confess to being one of those putting hands together.
The NCC-selected consultants lectured us for three plus hours on their totally irrelevant experiences in Australia. Then added their observations on Auckland, which could be summarised in a sentence: It’s the implementation part that’s tough. Duh!
Unfortunately the consultants, who were paid $7,000 for their afternoon’s work, had not even bothered to read the Winder Report, which details where HB councils could save $10 million per year if amalgamation were fully implemented. Had they done so, their reactions might have had some value. Instead they offered sage advice like: It will be important to identify the areas where savings can be found so the public will know what to expect. Another Duh!
If these guys were auditioning for more work in Hawke’s Bay … good luck! They’re all yours, Bill.
Pressed by a councillor, the consultants ultimately conceded that amalgamation in Auckland had in fact succeeded in delivering a unified strategic vision for that region, along with better decision-making surrounding major infrastructure and facilities investment … exactly the sort of thing HB councils love to squabble about, before proceeding independently and duplicating effort!
I have to say, with most of the councillors and senior staff of Hawke’s Bay couped up in the War Memorial Centre for half a day (more, counting travel time), I think we owe the people of Hawke’s Bay a ‘make-good’ day!