Where is the vision from leaders?

Clive Bibby

COLUMN

I never thought I would write a column that includes part recognition of a Gavin Maclean strategy for future development.

I emphasise the word “part” because I just want to support his call for a visionary approach to regional and national problem-solving — but would prefer that he was talking about all our existing and anticipated concerns, not just those related to climate change.

His reference to a visionary plan is timely and I accept that his argument includes a number of positive solutions that could apply to this region. Some other bits — not so good!

For some time now, I have been a lone voice calling for a visionary plan from our council setting out a list of likely future scenarios with accompanying suggestions of how we intend dealing with them. So far, it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

Why do they find it so difficult to front on these issues?

So, in the absence of any apparent interest from the council, I’ve offered a few hints as to the areas we should be investigating. I hope others will come up with some of their own.

Obviously climate change has to be top of the list because it will be the main determinant of what this region looks like in the decades ahead. However, the ideas that will ensure we can peacefully co-exist with the projected dramatic changes to our environment should be drawn from all sectors of the nation’s “Brain’s Trust”, not just the Greens. They don’t hold a mortgage on well-thought-out solutions to our future problems, and we will need to cast the net widely in order to harvest the ideas that are worth further investigation.

Whatever we do, I suggest our efforts will be up against a wall of indifference bordering on disdain for any alternative suggestions to the plans the council believes are sufficient — while all the time ignoring the elephant in the room.

I am worried that there has been a concerted effort by our leaders, aided and abetted by other influential factions within our society, to convince citizens everything that should be done to ensure our future is being addressed with appropriate emphasis and we should just suck it up! If you believe that, you need to spend time in a quiet place regaining your senses.

In fact, folks, nothing is being done to publicly acknowledge the seriousness of the task ahead and why we should be doing much more to avoid being caught with our pants down.

All we’ve got in the past year or so have been “fanfare” announcements of the council and its agencies’ implementation of “small beer” developments as justification for our misguided faith in their abilities to ensure long-term public safety. Here is a list of the sort of things I’m talking about:

1) Activate Tairawhiti’s achievements in establishing partnerships that will help with economic growth, eg. the Air NZ deal/regional marketing initiative.

2) The council’s plans for the inner harbour development and implementation of the Navigations Project.

3) The council’s aquifer replenishment project.

4) Gisborne Holdings Ltd’s plan to revamp the Waikanae Holiday Park.

5) The recently announced government economic assistance package.

While these are all admirable projects and represent a substantial amount of capital injection to this region, none come close to what will be needed when trying to restructure our economy in a way that is sustainable in an environment soon to be forced upon us by climate change.

Where is the vision that includes those type of strategies and why isn’t it a major part of our 10-year plan?

I never thought I would write a column that includes part recognition of a Gavin Maclean strategy for future development.

I emphasise the word “part” because I just want to support his call for a visionary approach to regional and national problem-solving — but would prefer that he was talking about all our existing and anticipated concerns, not just those related to climate change.

His reference to a visionary plan is timely and I accept that his argument includes a number of positive solutions that could apply to this region. Some other bits — not so good!

For some time now, I have been a lone voice calling for a visionary plan from our council setting out a list of likely future scenarios with accompanying suggestions of how we intend dealing with them. So far, it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

Why do they find it so difficult to front on these issues?

So, in the absence of any apparent interest from the council, I’ve offered a few hints as to the areas we should be investigating. I hope others will come up with some of their own.

Obviously climate change has to be top of the list because it will be the main determinant of what this region looks like in the decades ahead. However, the ideas that will ensure we can peacefully co-exist with the projected dramatic changes to our environment should be drawn from all sectors of the nation’s “Brain’s Trust”, not just the Greens. They don’t hold a mortgage on well-thought-out solutions to our future problems, and we will need to cast the net widely in order to harvest the ideas that are worth further investigation.

Whatever we do, I suggest our efforts will be up against a wall of indifference bordering on disdain for any alternative suggestions to the plans the council believes are sufficient — while all the time ignoring the elephant in the room.

I am worried that there has been a concerted effort by our leaders, aided and abetted by other influential factions within our society, to convince citizens everything that should be done to ensure our future is being addressed with appropriate emphasis and we should just suck it up! If you believe that, you need to spend time in a quiet place regaining your senses.

In fact, folks, nothing is being done to publicly acknowledge the seriousness of the task ahead and why we should be doing much more to avoid being caught with our pants down.

All we’ve got in the past year or so have been “fanfare” announcements of the council and its agencies’ implementation of “small beer” developments as justification for our misguided faith in their abilities to ensure long-term public safety. Here is a list of the sort of things I’m talking about:

1) Activate Tairawhiti’s achievements in establishing partnerships that will help with economic growth, eg. the Air NZ deal/regional marketing initiative.

2) The council’s plans for the inner harbour development and implementation of the Navigations Project.

3) The council’s aquifer replenishment project.

4) Gisborne Holdings Ltd’s plan to revamp the Waikanae Holiday Park.

5) The recently announced government economic assistance package.

While these are all admirable projects and represent a substantial amount of capital injection to this region, none come close to what will be needed when trying to restructure our economy in a way that is sustainable in an environment soon to be forced upon us by climate change.

Where is the vision that includes those type of strategies and why isn’t it a major part of our 10-year plan?

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.