For two days now the Hastings Council has been pre-selling in HB Today its proposal to improve “customer service” by investing $4.7 million over the next two years or so in HDC building alterations, a call centre and relevant software systems to manage customer relationships.
Whatever the merits of this proposal, and there are some, it’s a bit unseemly for Council to be pre-selling this initiative well before the LTCCP hits the streets for public consultation. Obviously, there’s some concern at HDC that the public won’t swallow this “customer service” initiative.
Meanwhile, where is the Hastings Council’s “customer service” when residents in Bridge Pa can go without sanitary water for weeks … some since Christmas?!
It’s both sad and infuriating to see one such resident say: “That Mr Yule, bless his heart, he sent someone out with a tank of water …”
What she should be shouting is: “Let Mayor Yule and his fellow Councillors drink out of a barrel and get their butts to the marae to shower and s**t for a few weeks, and see if that doesn’t improve customer service!”
What an abysmal failure of local government by HDC! You bet they need better “customer service!” But no amount of new building and software overhaul is going to compensate for a mindset that is so insulated or uncaring that it allows a situation like Bridge Pa to happen, then persist.
On Tuesday, the Hastings Councillors debated over an hour on if, where and how to fund some upgraded and/or new public toilets for shoppers in the Hastings CBD. A couple of hundred thousand dollars was involved. More time and more heat on that issue than on the $4.7 million for customer service. Friday they meet again. Maybe someone will propose busing Bridge Pa residents to the CBD so they can take advantage of this investment.
Then there’s the ever-helpful Regional Council staff, who true-to-form says, in effect: “Irrigation comes first. The peasants have got lousy shallow wells. They should just dig deeper ones, as we consent away more and more water, deluding ourselves that we have a limitless supply.”
OK, Regional Council, are they supposed to dig 25 meter wells, 100 meter wells … wait until the water levels fall below those too in a few years, and then be told … “Hey, just drill deeper?” In Hawke’s Bay, wine growers and other irrigators appear to have a god-given right to water; for everyone else, it’s “you’re hosed.”
When are these guys going to figure out that water is a problem? I sure hope Chairman Dick is taking the “total immersion” course in water issues … and I hope he confers more broadly than with the HBRC staff.
P.S. Yesterday I reported that HDC plans to spend $2 million+ per year on marketing and advertising. How much will it spend on monitoring municipal water quality in the District? $19,000.