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Transition Town Thames Takes Over

he invitation to the Transition Town Thames Candidate Meeting in the Civic Centre on Sunday 22 October arrived yesterday. I find it disappointing that T3 has again been able to take the initiative in promoting and running the Thames candidate meeting   This has happened because no other group in the town put its hand up early enough to take on the role.,

I would have no objection had T3, mainly represented it seems by the views of Mark Skelding, eschewed attempting to impose its particular agenda on the gathering, which is primarily aimed at allowing candidates to expose and explain their views and what they aim to achieve by standing for office. Such is just about impossible when 3T impose and corral the agenda.

It makes it very hard to be able to judge the views on candidates on the usual functions of Council as laid down in the Local Government Act when T3 list the matters in which they are interested which go beyond this, especially when strict time limits are also put in place.

Mark defines "the core values that are essential to the community." He further sets our the issues that T3 wishes to be discussed:

"Whilst there is considerable concern in regard our readiness in a changing climate, he (Mark) said that there are other significant local issues to be considered.  These include an ageing population, lack of employment opportunities and the silo-ing of community sectors, as well as cynicism, domestic violence and lack of housing." 

This is presumptuous; immediately sets the tone, and restricts the ability of candidates to expand on the issues that concern them.  I primarily want to hear about how prospective candidates intend to oversee the spenduing of the roughly $3,000 a year that we each pay in rates, and climate-change issues - those are my issues, and I suspect those of most other rate-payers., but which appear outside the ambit of T3's agenda. 

Mark then goes on to further defines the occasion in the following manner:

We are hoping for some inspired examples of “joined-up thinking”.  We'll be listening out for ideas that address the immediate challenges in ways which don't lose sight of our national commitments and the global context.  Under the circumstances its difficult to see a future without increased immigration pressure, changing economic conditions, and a need to think differently about energy, food, and waste.”

He also lays down the rules for the evening, about which I have no argument - it is T3's show after all.  But I do take issue with the decision to bring in a high-flyiong Auckland lawyer (and Professor Emeritus of law, with "a deep interest in Celtic spirituality, and who speaks fluent Te reo" no less, amongst other admirable qualitiues) as facilitator?

Do we not have a local quite capable of performing this function? It is insulting in my view, and could be regarded as an attempt to intimidate. This is simply a candidates meeting, not a multi-million dollar arbitration claim. Get real Mark!

The final paragraph of the 'invitation' that has been widely circulated sets out the month long agenda organised by T3  on 'Living Solutions' which again appears to define the agenda prior to the election.

I have no objection to T3 running its program this month in this manner, but it is confusing and unfortunate that it should be associated with the candidates meeting in this manner. I just wish that Mark, for whom I have the highest regard, would 'back-off,' and let the candidates have a 'free hand' to display their wares - not necessarily in regard to the concerns of T3.    


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