Thursday, June 1, 2023

Clive Bibby: Only a visionary response will save us from ourselves

Although this column was written against a background of mainly local events, it should prove acceptable reading for those who live in other parts of the country where they have endured similar betrayals and malpractices by those who promised to serve all of the people, all of the time.

So much has happened since Cyclones’ Gabrielle and Hale delivered what might be for some, the killer blow to all the hopes and dreams of decent, law abiding, selfless contributors to this region’s and the nation’s economy.

It is as if the world stood still for hours, days and weeks after the storms left their respective paths of destruction across what had been some of the most pristine countryside on the planet.

Although the local contractors and administrators are working overtime to help isolated communities get back in touch with the world, little has changed on much of the farms and productive sector that will enable them to resume business as usual.

And unfortunately, so much of being able to achieve that objective will depend on those who will control the narrative going forward - especially if those hand picked individuals are some of the ones partially responsible for the decimation we face.

Sadly, what we are seeing now is the re-emergence of the privileged special interest groups who are demanding a place at the table where decisions will be made about the region's future.

If that happens - which seems likely - there is a possibility that we will end up in worse shape than we were before the cyclones struck.

Having said that, there is an opportunity for our political leaders, both in Local and Central Government, to ignore the clamour for apportioning blame and the noise coming from self interest groups in order to focus on what needs to be done.

That in itself is a pretty tall order for people who have spent years looking after their own position in society. But we simply can’t afford to spend the next few months and years squabbling over who should be in a position to dictate the manner of our survival.

And the only way to avoid the unintended consequences of bad decision making will be with the appointment of people with the experience and proven ability for impartially doing the right thing. Nothing less will go even close to restoring this special place in Godzone to a situation where vision has become reality.

In spite of what looks like an impossible task, we do have quite a few things going for us that should enable the community to achieve much of what should be in a visionary Long Term Plan.

Firstly we have amongst our number, people of integrity and a history of service that sets them apart from the average Joe Blow.

They have the skills to identify the areas where most of the money is spent, allowing  the productive sector to readjust to a restructured economy.

However, none of this will be easy. It will take commitments from every person living within the Tairawhiti boundaries to play their part.

And while we are going through this “game changing” process, there will be a need to maintain support for our most vulnerable citizens.

The good news is that it can be done.

I have every confidence that we have within our midst, people who can lead us all to the promised land.

The trick is to not spend endless amounts of time we don’t have debating the issues.

Let’s just do it.

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.

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