For those who don’t know Shannon, it is a beautiful, small town on State Highway 57 between Palmerston North and Levin in the lower North Island. Recently it featured in the news media following the filming by Horowhenua District Councillor Ross Campbell, of HDC’s pollution of the local waterways. You can read about these events that saw Cr Campbell trespassed, at this link.
More recently, Cr Campbell conducted a street poll to air the proposal by Council of issuing another liquor license in the town. Shannon already has two off license outlets and five licensed outlets, and the public voted an overwhelming 309 to 3 against. Now that is a clear message from constituents to at the very least hold off, and at most to conduct a proper survey of the town.
But no, the HDC Licensing Chair-person Councilor Ross Brannigan and Committee and obviously the Police thought otherwise and granted yet another license!
Disappointed with this outcome, Cr Campbell, who has fought hard for his community, commented that he thought the Police would have been more supportive of locals’ wishes especially with this issue.
Now, I’ve noticed for some time now, as have many others, that DCs seem to not really be listening to what their constituents say. The official spin if you like on their websites tends to sound very democratic but in practice, in reality, as can be seen from all of the above, they are everything but democratic. A former Cr, Mrs Anne Hunt, recently went public and divulged the persuasive measures that HDC take with their own, coercing them to deny the facts about certain issues. Something is clearly not right with local government in NZ, the HDC being no exception. Here for instance, to illustrate, is some of their spin, quoted from HDC’s own website (our emphases):
Council’s Functions, Responsibilities and Activities
The purpose of the Horowhenua District Council is to enable democratic local decision making to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well being of the Horowhenua District in the present and for the future.
In meeting its purpose, the Horowhenua District Council has a variety of roles:
- Facilitating solutions to local needs
- Advocacy on behalf of the local community with central government, other local authorities and other agencies
- Management of local infrastructure including network infrastructure (eg roading, water supply, waste disposal, libraries, parks and recreational facilities)
- Environmental management planning for the current and future needs of the local district.
So there is a discrepancy right there in the first paragraph:
…to enable democratic local decision making to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well being of the Horowhenua District
In this instance, clearly demonstrated by Cr Campbell, they are not enabling democratic local decision making. Locals commenting on social media clearly reflected that they neither needed nor wanted more liquor outlets so HDC is neither consulting nor listening to locals and … facilitating solutions to local needs. (Their own words).
So who needs more liquor outlets? … no prizes for guessing that one … the liquor companies of course.
So the question that needs to be asked here is … why is a supposedly responsible DC favoring the wishes of the liquor industry, over the people who voted them in?
Hopefully the locals will be phoning those who made this decision on their behalf .. (in particular Cr Ross Brannigan in case you missed it) to ask them “why”? Why are they contradicting their own policy statements?
We need to be speaking up about these matters … our silence is interpreted as consent.
The contact details for all councilors and others who are serving you the rate payers, can be found on the respective Council websites. And remember, elections are coming up soon … be sure to vote, and vote for those who are genuinely for changing the current status quo.
In addition, consider registering your opposition to the way these decisions are made by filling in a form at the Citizens Government Corruption Watchdog Commission. This is easy to do, and the site is a NZ one.
HDC contact details can be found HERE at this link.
Shannon will be entering the “Keep NZ Beautiful”competition this spring. Good luck to them!