Replace hate with kindness in Rotorua elections


Muddy Waters

22 March 2019

The haters among us know who they are.  However, we may not know who they are, unless their words are reported in publicly available media. 

Social media platforms have opened up a world of communications between friends, relatives and acquaintances, but would you willingly “friend” or otherwise connect with somebody whose opinions you strongly disagreed with?  Probably not, unless you needed to do so for professional reasons.

With the local body elections upon us this year, it will be interesting to see how our want-to-be leaders conduct themselves, what language is used, and the kind of rhetoric that is employed by the competing interests.

Muddy Waters has viewed a stiffening of opinions between the vanguards of supporters in the two main factions in Rotorua – one supporting the current Rotorua Lakes Council strategies and the other attacking those strategies.

Although it grabbed headlines, the use of the word “iwitocracy” by the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Inc representatives in a presentation to the council was probably a low point.  However, it was also noteworthy that the council managers included the word in the presentation screened during that particular meeting. 

On the other hand, those challenging developments such as that at the lakefront are labelled in some way as being “middle class white”, when they question the rationale and cost behind the development.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has led the way in this area, in effect demanding a kinder approach to public life and politics.  Can our people and their leaders follow the lead of a Prime Minister who may turn out to be one of the best, at least in our life time.

As we remember those who died and were injured in the terrorist attack on the Christchurch mosques, we must also remember that our words and how we frame them have meaning.

Muslim leaders have reported how they were ignored or fobbed off when reporting concerns over security to authorities.  It is also important for those in authority in Rotorua to listen to and take seriously the concerns of individual residents and ratepayers.

In June 2014, The Mud reported the inner-city redevelopment with enthusiasm.  Included was a reference to the provision of free 120-minute parking.  Today, free parking has been swept aside, car parks are for credit card holders only, and shop owners are facing empty streets once more.

Politicians, please don’t denigrate those who question these changes or lash out at each other when a policy is proved to be a folly.  In the spirit of Christchurch and PM Ardern, let us all engage in a polite (if somewhat politic) discussion about what is best and least harmful for our city.

See earlier reference at:

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