'Business high flyers could help dish out regional development fund (Northern Advocate October 26) reports. Priorities for the Far North could include 'Water and sewage reticulation and a greater share ... of road maintenance'.
Who decided these constitute regional economic development?
What will develop? A marginal increase in employment maintaining roads? Short-term jobs building countless tiny water and sewage reticulation schemes? Longer-term council employment servicing them? NRC and NGO jobs to monitor and clean up the damage to our awa and moana? Or avoid it?
Taxpayers' regional development funding from Wellington gets channelled through our land tax collector Far North District Council. Regional development becomes rates subsidisation for massive capital expenditure on inappropriate and/or neglected infrastructure?
How does it make sense to reticulate either water or sewage in a district with almost the lowest population density and widespread dispersal of small and tiny settlements anywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand?
Regional development money could go towards developing sustainable businesses that provide independent household or papakainga renewable energy - solar, water and wind - improved rainwater collection, solar filtration and heating, composting toilets and land-based (composted or non-septic) sewage disposal, and a lot more besides.
Tai Tokerau ki te raki has burgeoning industries in cultural, environmental and experiential tourism, arts and crafts, organics, recycling and boutique value-added food, to name but a few. Not to mention legalised, regulated hemp and cannabis, the wonder crop.
Amidst the utter devastation of pine forest harvesting, a firewood industry begs to be developed.
I'm sure "business high flyers" will see both the real and abstract 'local' benefits these possibilities offer our deprived Far North communities and decide accordingly.
We wouldn't want members of Shane Jones' "constipated bureaucracy" making such decisions, now would we? We wouldn't want an independent public service.