The shouting and the tumult die. The captains and the kings depart.
Well, not quite. The captains and kings remain sitting round the council table at the Palace in Dalton Street, Napier. I refer, of course to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the recent election of the new chairman and deputy chair.
It was stated, quite rightly, by all the protagonists at some stage of the proceedings, that the performance of the Council has suffered due to the fact that Councillors spent more time fighting one another than fighting for the common good. This is not completely untrue, and is the inevitable result of big egos being brought into the debating chamber rather than being left in the cloakroom where they belong.
Alan Dick did his very best to control and contain the situation, which as he pointed out, had been a consistent theme over the last six years of council. Thankfully, he laid most of the blame on the tight six of yesteryear, so we three relative newcomers (Liz Remmerswaal, Fenton Wilson and me) could feel slightly less guilty than the old guard. But despite his best efforts, a number of Councillors could not resist bringing their mirrors to every meeting so they could gaze at will upon the smartest person in the universe.
The only way to break the habit was to bring Wilson off the bench. The only untarnished player. Untried but also unloathed. And as Wilson pointed out in his speech to the crowd, although he only had eighteen months experience on the Council, he was surrounded by over 100 years of collective experience and together we could move mountains.
I suspect that this was also a polite way of saying that after a hundred collective years, maybe it was time for some members to consider forsaking the Palace and returning to the planet Earth. He was referring to the other Councillors, I am sure, and not to me.
The election of Ewan McGregor as deputy chair from the opposing “faction” was hopefully a signal that, despite the fractiousness in the body politic, the new term will demonstrate to the people of Hawke’s Bay that the Council is genuinely determined to work together, to get back to its primary function of environmental protection and financial prudence, and to leave the mirrors behind in the cloakroom … along with the egos.