Governed as a service or a business?

Olympic Pool. File picture

LETTER

It has been 37 years since the handlers of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher persuaded most of the world that the business model is best for government. CEOs and people with MBAs stepped into government, and it has been downhill ever since. It seemed such a no-brainer.

Few of the governed and fewer of those who govern have noticed that it doesn’t work as well as the old service model.

A case in point: Our councillors stand by while their business arm plans to spend $8 million upgrading the holiday park with five-star accommodation and a swimming pool for tourists, while the council has not properly maintained our dilapidated Olympic Pool Complex for our residents, and possibly can’t afford to now.

It seems the unmaintained swimming complex has become a write-off; staff are allocated to planning an upgrade which nobody thinks will happen until the rest of the mess can be set right. Wow!

Everyone who reads these pages knows the Olympic Pool Complex is my issue.

That doesn’t mean I don’t mind how the council hasn’t the funds to address our unsafe roads, air quality and sewage in our rivers, while community-owned businesses expand and pollute the harbour for offshore-owned, road-destroying timber enterprises to finance tourist enhancements.

The business arms mind their businesses, work hard to grow our city beyond its infrastructure capacity —thereby contributing to the neglect of our infrastructure — and put tourists ahead of residents. Rates go up to pay for neglect.

I would not like to be a councillor looking at this challenge.

Councillors might consider whether the old service model is superior to the business model, and take back our city.

With a service government, maybe we could enjoy our pools and our rivers, and move more safely along our roads. And even afford to pay our rates.

Will that happen? No way. The structure is firmly in place.

Sarah Dixon

It has been 37 years since the handlers of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher persuaded most of the world that the business model is best for government. CEOs and people with MBAs stepped into government, and it has been downhill ever since. It seemed such a no-brainer.

Few of the governed and fewer of those who govern have noticed that it doesn’t work as well as the old service model.

A case in point: Our councillors stand by while their business arm plans to spend $8 million upgrading the holiday park with five-star accommodation and a swimming pool for tourists, while the council has not properly maintained our dilapidated Olympic Pool Complex for our residents, and possibly can’t afford to now.

It seems the unmaintained swimming complex has become a write-off; staff are allocated to planning an upgrade which nobody thinks will happen until the rest of the mess can be set right. Wow!

Everyone who reads these pages knows the Olympic Pool Complex is my issue.

That doesn’t mean I don’t mind how the council hasn’t the funds to address our unsafe roads, air quality and sewage in our rivers, while community-owned businesses expand and pollute the harbour for offshore-owned, road-destroying timber enterprises to finance tourist enhancements.

The business arms mind their businesses, work hard to grow our city beyond its infrastructure capacity —thereby contributing to the neglect of our infrastructure — and put tourists ahead of residents. Rates go up to pay for neglect.

I would not like to be a councillor looking at this challenge.

Councillors might consider whether the old service model is superior to the business model, and take back our city.

With a service government, maybe we could enjoy our pools and our rivers, and move more safely along our roads. And even afford to pay our rates.

Will that happen? No way. The structure is firmly in place.

Sarah Dixon

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winston moreton - 8 days ago
Good analysis Sarah. It amazes me that our councillors have kow-towed to the business arm that is ECT. I lay the responsibility on Mayor Meng Foon who is a permanent trustee while he is Mayor. Only recently have rank and file councillors started to appreciate the importance of the annual appointment (2) of trustees. It is too late for a generation of locals but I am optimistic it is not too late for the current generation.

lloyd gretton - 7 days ago
In China, the local government appointed by the local Communist Party rises or falls on its governance. They plan years ahead. No ECT bullshit.
In my city in China, there is a traffic congestion problem. So the local government is planning to build, and will build, an overhead railway system.

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