I was once refused an interview by a senior manager at Waikato District Council. This was the same manager who oversaw the spate of sewerage spills we had a few years ago. He was a bureaucrat who seemed out of touch with the reality in Raglan and after a watching several of his staff leave I requested an interview so I could ask him if he was also going to resign over his poor performance.
Given that he knew the questions in advance I wasn’t surprised when he told me I was “irresponsible” and declined the interview. Whether or not I was the first person to make the suggestion to him I don’t know but a few months later he did in fact resign.
I imagine a lot of people will enjoy this story but what I really want to say is that this guy was the exception, not the rule – and the reason I want to say it is because of the amazing amount of abuse I see our community directing at the council.
I see a lot of the council and they are simply not deserving of the treatment we give them, either at public meetings or online.
A case in point: Council recently applied into the Provincial Growth Fund to do $2.5 million worth of work on the Wharf.
The Wharf was the only thing in our community that was eligible for funding so staff worked hard to put a case together in the short amount of time they had available and got the job done.
A news item about this was posted on the Raglan noticeboard and immediately people were piling on the abuse. One memorable commenter even accused the council of wasting yet more of the ratepayers money – clearly unaware of the elementary fact that this was an application for government funding that would actually save local ratepayers money.
I wouldn’t normally give oxygen to a-grade ignorance like this but what happened next is that one of the staff who had put the application together made the mistake of reading the comments on the noticeboard. I can only imagine how deflating it was to put in all that effort on our behalf only to be greeted with wall to wall abuse at the end of it.
I can’t imagine he’ll want to put in extra effort for us again and I wouldn’t blame him or anyone else at council if they kept well away from Raglan, given the treatment they’re likely to get from us.
Obviously the council does make mistakes – and I’ll continue to point them out when I see them – but I can assure you that the majority of criticism I see directed toward our council is completely ill informed and to be blunt, pretty irrational. Not everyone there is an idiot and not everything they do is wrong.
From what I’ve seen, good relationships are essential to getting things done at council and to their credit our community board has worked hard to improve its relationship with the staff over the last 3 years.
It would just be nice if the rest of us stopped undermining their efforts so much.
25 Years On-Air
1994 – 2019
Raglan Community Radio is Aotearoa’s longest running independent community station.