A couple of weeks on from the Cyclone that wrecked havoc throughout Tairawhiti and the northern parts of Hawkes Bay and those of us at the coalface are still trying to salvage what is left that can be used as the basis of rehabilitation. Having survived every major climate event since and including Cyclone Bola my wife and I have become old hands at assessing the damage associated with each one in relative terms. But more importantly, we remain two of the few who can offer comparative analysis looking at the effectiveness of local and central government’s response to each event.
One might have thought that this valuable mainly historical information would have been sought by those who have responsibility for the restructuring programmes that will be necessary in order to avoid these types of outcomes becoming common place in the future.
I say that because, as a community that has had to endure the debilitating affects of similar major events too many times, we are at a stage where we have to acknowledge that life is never going to be the same and in order to survive the next one, we will have to do things differently - and it will take a monumental selfless effort from all those who have the ability to make it happen, if we are to have any chance of emerging from this horror better prepared than we were before it made our acquaintance in such dramatic fashion.
This time, the “day after tomorrow” must include discussions that will lead to a restructuring of our economy and associated with it, our strengthened defences built on what we now know must happen.
There can be no room for political point scoring or attempts at saving the advantaged positions enjoyed by a select number of special interest groups.
We have to be all in this together.
But my concern is that already the signs are emerging that suggest the politically powerful at all levels are trying to influence who and what determines the outcome of the enquiries we have been promised.
In this community, we are being subjected to a raft of disingenuous assurances that the response will seek and expose the truth about our unpreparedness for what is expected to be more climate events of even greater intensity in future.
In that context, it is absolutely essential that the people in charge lead by example, especially in the way they humbly listen to those who have workable ideas for much needed change. They need to become coordinators of a joint effort - putting aside their own political ambitions at least for the time it takes to oversee the restructuring.
We can’t afford to repeat the pompous rejections of the past that have lead to us being in this sorry state.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.
I cannot see any chance of those in charge listening to anything apart from the approved narrative from those making the decisions. Anyone else will, as usual, be treated with contempt. This was made very obvious as soon as the event was blamed on climate change. Common sense and reason are not qualities that this administration is big on, but political point scoring, fearmongering and buttcovering is right up their alley.
We have all been tricked into believing that political parties care about the country they claim to be running. Why are these positions not filled the way every other job is filled.... by people applying for the job based on abilities and experience. Why are politicians with no real world experience put in charge of portfolio's in areas they know nothing about - it is dysfunctional to say the least. It should be a job application process.
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