Community Boards Confer

We can’t all soar like eagles but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines. Conventional political wisdom

Catering for communities real and virtual

By Bernie Randall, Paraparaumu/Raumati Community Board

“If at first you don’t succeed then sky diving is not for you.”

These pearls of wisdom spoken by the convenor opened and set the tone for a successful NZ Community Boards conference.

It was being hosted by the good folks of Methven who normally entertain the pretty, young and wild skiing fraternity.

The theme of the conference was communities both the real and virtual and the dilemmas both face.

Having a vision to move forward

“We can’t all soar like eagles but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines” was a constant message throughout the conference. It was all about communities and improving them.

The importance of a having a vision and going forward with new processes that could get around the old was emphasised.

Although the the offical theme was 1+1=3 it was never clear what that meant but apparently it had been dreamed up by a lawyer. Enough said!

The participants were enthusiastic and the enthusiasm of the various community board members was infectious. Communities should be proud of the people they elected to their various boards.

Impressive speakers with practical ideas

David Rutherford from the Human Rights Commission emphasised that a home is the primary health centre in NZ in many ways, especially in times of civil disaster.

He emphasised all New Zealanders should be well housed in homes that are affordable and habitable.

Sam Johnson, Christchurch legend. (Credit Huffington Post)

Sam Johnson from the Student Volunteer Army was hero worshipped at the conference.

He was given a standing ovation something you rarely see outside of a Donald Trump rally. Sam’s message was to question the process that can stop experts from doing their job. If it is a success it is theirs, if it is a failure it is everybody’s.

He encouraged questioning hierarchy management. Mutual circular co-creation may be better. In these days of technology tools we must learn to reconnect with our real communities and not just the online communities.

Thames Valley went to schools and consulted with the kids about new playgrounds. This is a cool idea that Kapiti may wish to adopt.

Measuring the effectiveness of local government

Needs to get involved in effectiveness checks

Local Government New Zealand spoke about big item projects: Water quality 2050 and CouncilMARK ranking the effectiveness of Local Authorities. The first reports are due to be publicly released: Horowhenua will be one.

Kapiti shied away from the first round. They must volunteer for the second round that commences shortly.

KCDC was mentioned in a few brief moments in time mainly in relation to hedges, street naming and Town Planning. It would have been good for it to be held up as a role model occasionally!

But the conference ended on one bright note. Waikanae Community Board received an award for work and engagement around the Waikanae Beach area. Well done.