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Thursday, 30 April 2009

BUILDING THE HOUSE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

Winston Churchill said, 'We build our house then our houses build us.' We should therefore be careful about what sort of house we build, both literal and metaphorical.

The house of local government is critical because it builds our community. And the inexorable tendency is for those who rule you to make your community like theirs. You become remade in their image.

We must therefore ask ourselves: 'Do we want Waiheke to become like Auckland City?' 'Do we want Waiheke to become like anything on the isthmus?'

If the answer is 'No', we must build our local government house with someone else (we do not have 10,000 people, so in law we cannot build it by ourselves). And we must for the survival of our community build it with someone like us. We must look at how they have built their community and ask ourselves if we would be happy if we became like that.

Thames-Coromandel is that sort of place. Some parts we would not like (Pauanui, obviously, but that is not typical), but the most built place, Thames, is not a town that a true islander could feel uncomfortable in.

If Waiheke (even Great Barrier) became in twenty years' time like Thames is now, we would not be too unhappy about it. But if it became like Auckland we would hate it. It would no longer be Waiheke. Its essence would have died.