One Mahurangi – Change as a constant

When my forebears stepped off the Jane Gifford in Auckland in 1842 after sailing for 112 days from Scotland, they would have had no concept of how life would morph and change for them. In the years ahead, they and then their descendants would navigate the Great Depression, two world wars and multiple financial crises, while all the time trying to grow some of the best fruit and fruit trees in the southern hemisphere. Although long-distance travel has certainly changed, we are lucky to still have many of those original fruit varieties today.

It’s well known that people don’t like change when they get to a place of comfort, especially as we get older. Warkworth is definitely a comfortable place to live (albeit becoming more expensive) and yet change seems to be the one constant thing here and in the wider region.

As a sixth generation local, I really do love New Zealand and can say, after living in eight different countries over the last 25 years, that we are still blessed with fresh, clean air and water we can drink from the sky or from aquifers beneath our fertile soil. That’s all well and good, but that comparison to other countries doesn’t really make the challenge of running a small business any easier and, unfortunately, for all the greatness this country has we are bound up in a slow, bureaucratic and costly governing structure with what appears to be little to no accountability.

The earlier example (MM Apr 25) of the $2.3 million for 12 prefabricated toilets is a clear and embarrassing example of this. I’m certain, as are plenty of folk I speak to, that a local building company based in Omaha or Wellsford could have constructed those, while also supporting other local businesses and suppliers, for a fraction of that cost to the ratepayer.

Yet this is what we have – bureaucrats in Auckland making decisions for locals here in Warkworth – not because they know better, but because we have been engulfed in the Supercity fantasy (… surely not just a strategy to capture our rates to spend in other regions?).

We often see this “Supercity” procurement department awarding work to contractors from south Auckland, who travel back and forth, fixing or installing local infrastructure in Mahurangi. Again, with no accountability on how cost-effective these jobs are compared to a local contractor completing the work. While we can all bemoan these facts, the only way to deal with it and to be heard is to work within the system and use the power of the pen to make submissions when the opportunities arise.

One Mahurangi is also here to listen to business pain points and bring a collective strength to negotiations with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport or Watercare. As shared by Rodney Local Board member Beth Houlbrooke (MM May 23), there is an imminent infrastructure train-wreck about to happen in our community.

Websites to bookmark and keep an eye on are:

Co-chair, One Mahurangi

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