Friday, May 8, 2020
Clive Bibby: Fiddling While Rome BurnsLabels: Clive Bibby, COVID-19 politics, Local government
In our rush to join the latest version of the "Me too" movement which is the "canonisation" of the Prime Minister, we are overlooking our responsibilities to current and future generations that should be demanding action on much more urgent matters.
While l get no pleasure in pointing this out to a populace that is frustrated from living under martial law for the last six weeks, someone has to do it.
I am well used to and unfazed by those members of our community who want to ridicule my ideas for economic growth and so l might as well have one more go at offering constructive alternatives to the dangerous 'do nothing' policies of some current local authorities.
In the process, it would be churlish not to acknowledge the high standard of leadership demonstrated by our Government, particularly the Prime Minister and senior members of the public service during the lockdown but it would be a huge mistake (one that l fear is about to be made) if we imagined that those efforts alone will be enough to get us on the road to a sustainable recovery when we emerge from our confinement.
As far as political leadership is concerned, the easy bit is over. The true test of our politicians' abilities begins now.
What they do next will be crucial to how we deal with the self inflicted wounds associated with this unfortunate interruption to our development as a community, region and nation.
For the nation as a whole and some regions in particular, it will simply not be good enough to pretend that 'more of the same' will satisfy the needs of a nation that has lost many of its limited number of cornerstones for economic growth.
For example, while the destruction of the Tourism industry is not the fault of either our local politicians or Central Government, it is the inevitable consequence of decisions made in mitigation against the carona virus pandemic and as such, has to be accepted as no longer the same crucial part of the original number of opportunities we had at our disposal when plotting a course for the future. It will be a long time before, if it ever does, regain its former status as our leading overseas exchange earner.
Consequently, in these impossible circumstances we need leadership that has the ability to recognise the limited options available from the survivors and explore them for all their worth.
That will not happen while we procrastinate in the face of this latest threat and the ones that are not of our making such as climate change.
Remember that old ' bogeyman' that used to hog the column pages of newspapers and was given pride of place by those who claimed to have superior knowledge of the threats to our survival as a species. Well, sorry to spoil the party, but it hasn't gone away during this distraction and has in fact, shown quantifiable evidence of its naturally occurring existence in the form of the current drought that is waiting in the wings to destroy our hopes in ways that the virus could not.
All the more reason to develop a plan and a strategy for implementation that will include policies that can be effective in helping us restructure for a future already at risk because of both the effects of the pandemic and those destructive forces we have known about for some time.
Those plans should be what you find in the local Council's Spatial plan but unfortunately, when you look, in most cases, the cupboard is bare.
There is nothing that comes close to what will be required for the restructuring that is necessary.
Reasons as to why this is so will differ from region to region but most of it will come down to a lack of vision.
And all the time that this incompetence is on display, we are being swamped with offers of Government financial help that are once in a lifetime opportunities. How ironic is that?
Heaven help us!
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.
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