Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole? I did the other day when I was sitting at the end of the driveway waiting for the school bus and a lost rental truck pulled over and asked if I was number 112 Burma Road as he needed to drop off a wheelie bin. Now that was not my street number, however, I can assure you both panic and laughter engulfed my body when I realised at that moment that Auckland Council weren’t joking and they were actually going to give farmers like us wheelie bins!
In my feeble country bumpkin mind I had to quickly rationalise this concept. What if a plague had gone through and the decision-makers had gone mad? Now, I am only joking of course, but for the sake of my own sanity, and that of many others, I will use my farm as an example to explain my frustration. I have approximately 1.2 kilometres of poorly maintained driveway to get to the road, thus dragging it down my driveway is not an option as the wheels will fall off. Lifting it on the back of a ute and taking it down full is also not an option unless you are the world’s strongest man. Hooking up with the neighbours and “bin pooling” won’t work as they live miles down the road (how far are we expected to drive with our recycling anyway?).The only option for folks like me is to leave it as a permanent fixture on the roadside. Good God, what a lovely look that will be! Wheelie bins dotted all over the countryside. Perhaps the Council could build us “landscape sensitive” wheelie bin corrals?
So I did some ringing around Council to see if I could find some better solutions to our unique wheelie bin problems and so it seems the only common justification for the issue at hand was “streamlining, cost saving and equality”. Now last time I looked our Council was telling us all to embrace our “diversity” – next minute we hear them telling us all we need to be equal! So I don’t know? But here’s the thing, if they want to pull the old equality card on our communities they need to accept the fact that equality is not a pick and choose arrangement. It seems to me, that we are only equal if it either saves the Council money or makes them money, and if it costs them money they then tell us all how wonderfully diverse we are! So my message to the Council would be, “If you want us to be equal, then you need to stump up with a few basics like – decent roads, a public pool for our children to learn to swim, sewage plants that aren’t at capacity, sympathetic zoning and regulation that will enable employment for our people, even footpaths and the occasional street light!”
So I guess us minorities will just have to embrace our wheelie bins, but I will look forward to Northern Rodney’s name “up in lights” and our pamphlets pinned to every tourist board in the country with the header “Come visit Northern Rodney” the place with pristine beaches, breath-taking landscapes, horrific roads and PLASTIC WHEELIE BINS!