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Home arrow Human Interest arrow Local arrow Citizens unite
Citizens unite PDF Print
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Human Interest - Local
Written by Jane Clifton, The Listener   
Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Be prepared for the noisiest, nastiest, messiest local-body election year ever.

At first glance, this is not an election year – but, oh dear, think again. We are on track for the noisiest and nastiest local body election year ever. And perversely, though – as in most things in life – who are we going to blame for the coming fiasco, but the central government. Its decision late last year to wimp out of having a comprehensive review of local bodies’ rating practices was pretty much lost in the deluge of bigger political news at the time.

. . .

In practical terms, the notion of local empowerment is a myth. It depends on a meaningful number of citizens turning up to public meetings, deciphering district plan proposals, clocking public notices in the paper, writing submissions. Realistically, only a handful of people do this, and it carries a severe mental health risk. (You generally become either a bore or an obsessive.) And, even having gone to the trouble of allowing oneself to be consulted, does one actually get heeded? It’s impossible to measure this empirically, but anecdotally, the overwhelming answer is no.

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