Transparency builds credibility. Defuses misunderstanding and distrust.
“Pretend” consultation does the reverse.
Mayor Yule is pretending to consult the public on the proposed regional sports park. When in fact he made up his mind over a year ago … the day he proposed that Kelt Capital, the project’s instigator, also “manage” the enterprise, skipping the normal tender process.
Can anyone really imagine that the Mayor, sitting at his desk some day in early June, reading through submissions, will suddenly slap his forehead and exclaim: “Bugger … what a dummy I’ve been, they’re right, the revenue projections suck!” Or, “Eureka, this teacher’s right, we’d get more sport participation running more programming through the schools. Maybe we should have consulted them.”
No, not really. Not as long as Sam keeps saying the sports park check is in the mail. Lawrence and Sam have heard all the arguments against the sports park already … and rejected them. But hey, keep those submissions comin’ in, they say.
So it occurred to me that I was missing the point. The consultation process is not about us changing their minds. That’s democracy. It’s about them changing ours. That’s leadership.
OK. I’m willing to be led. But for that to happen, the Mayor will need to bring in his varsity squad. Here’s a proposal Your Worship …
BayBuzz will organize a gathering of a dozen or so leaders and networkers from the community … business leaders, seniors, enviros, civic groups, farmers, etc. Granted, they’ll be skeptics about the sports park; but they’ll be there to learn.
You deliver a handful of the experts who are advising Council, like Murray McCaw, author of the Cormilligan Report and chief consultant justifier of the project; Brenda, the staffer from Kelt Capital who, according to Sam, is doing all the work (at $25,000/month, I for one can’t wait to meet her!); and Jenni Giblin, your expert on social capital and sport.
I know this is asking a lot, but maybe throw in CEO Chris Clarke of the District Health Board as a bonus if he’s available. Sam Kelt likes to quote his enthusiastic support, and we’d welcome his expertise on how the sports park will improve health outcomes for Hawke’s Bay.
Just give our group one morning with your group. We’ll just ask a bunch of questions, digest a lot of information, and with any luck leave as converts to the cause. Convince our group and 90% of your heartburn will go away. What have you got to lose?
Now that would be genuine consultation. Informed believers mixing it up with informed skeptics.
Can we schedule the meeting, Mayor Yule?
Oh, Councillors can come too … as long as they just sit and listen.