I can’t help but notice the similarities between the recently launched campaign of John Key’s pet project – changing New Zealand’s flag and those of “Amalgamate Hawke’s Bay” – A Better Hawke’s Bay’s pro-local government amalgamation endeavors here in Hawke’s Bay.
Both have very similar styling – a speech bubble being the logo that adorns both campaigns:
The “Flag Consideration Project” campaign’s logo also resembles a flag, naturally, but the tail on it and “What Do We Stand For” script most certainly intimates a speech bubble, or encouraging your own speech or opinion.
“Amalgamate Hawke’s Bay’s” speech bubbles seem to be more akin to statements (or “facts” we are told) issued by some unidentifiable source.
Both campaigns cost those who will be ultimately affected (i.e. the public) by the respective research or results of these protagonists’ projects LOTS of money:
The flag referendum process is expected to cost New Zealand taxpayers more than $25million.
While the almost childish, tit-for-tat campaigns between pro-amalgamation Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule and his anti-amalgamation Napier counterpart, Bill Dalton, have already cost Hawke’s Bay ratepayers around $100,000 (The ratepayers footing the bill never actually got a say in the money being used, by the way)
Ultimately, both campaigns try to convince us one minor detail (putting all Hawke’s Bay under the control of one council / changing the design of the nation’s flag) will somehow cure all our ills.
Changing New Zealand’s flag will not make houses more affordable, or completely rebuild Christchurch, or send the massive levels of inequality New Zealand currently suffers back to the Dark Ages where they belong.
Similarly, compressing Hawke’s Bay’s five councils into one will not end poverty, high unemployment, poor health, or low paying jobs in the region. Would one big, completely inefficient building consent office really be better than two or three mildly inefficient ones?
Those Hawke’s Bay central and local government politicians who claim amalgamation will help pull our region out of the societal doldrums we have resided in for the last decade also seem to have conveniently forgotten that they are the ones who have been in the central and local government positions most likely to affect the required change for that same length of time!
Can you say “Hypocritical”?
There are massive, critical issues facing our region and nation that need addressing and fixing RIGHT NOW – WAY before any of these frivolous, distractive, expensive jaunts should even be considered.
Ignoring one rotten apple as it’s put into the bag doesn’t turn that apple good – it merely spreads the rot.
Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand deserve better!