It is a matter of record that history’s most successful leaders (particularly those in times of national crisis) have been the ones who inspire their troops to achieve beyond that which is expected of them. Almost without exception, they have a vision of a better world and a plan setting out how it might be possible to get there.
On the battle field, whether the enemy is identifiable or not, the strategy is built around the dream of a more acceptable existence after the sacrifice and hard work is done.
The one thing that usually sets these inspirational leaders apart from the dullards that have preceded them is their ability to share a vision of that better place with those who are being asked to make the sacrifice or put in the necessary effort in order to achieve a seemingly unachievable objective.
If you like, it is a promise of better things to come from someone who is prepared to lead from the front - not direct from the back.
For all intents and purposes, this nation is on a war footing against the combined enemy of a world wide pandemic and the potential threat to our very existence from our own version of a socialist takeover by stealth.
Yet in neither scenarios are we being shown the leadership of the type l have just described at either Central or Local Government level.
Where is the vision that will start us on the road to the promised land or to at least a more satisfying and rewarding future?
On the national scene we have a government that is hell bent on a policy of “divide and rule” - too timid to allow a relaxing of the restrictions deemed necessary when defending against Covid. I suspect the real reason why they are not following Britain’s lead is more to do with their reluctance to give away the opportunities they have to introduce racially repugnant laws that are having the effect of “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”. They couldn’t do these things to Kiwis without the threat of martial law overhanging a restless constituency. They must maintain control.
On the local scene we fare no better.
I can find not a single line in the Regional Long Term Plan that shares a vision of what the Tairawhiti community could look like in ten years’ time. Instead we read of additions to the stop banks, a few more park benches in the rural communities and hopefully an end to the painfully slow sewerage system replacement project.
Being charitable, one might assume that at least a few of our local leaders are using their time on Council constructively, working towards a better society that will include and benefit all of us. Unfortunately, if they are, we see no evidence that they have a collective strategy that has the capacity to alter the whole character of our environment for the better and if they do, they appear reluctant to share it with us.
Alas, we are offered nothing more inspirational than a few projections on how they intend spending your rates on a couple of financially insatiable infrastructure projects.
While that may satisfy some of those who hope for a better future, my suspicion is that the majority expect and are entitled to so much more.
Time for a change.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.