Dunedin residents call for change

Posted on July 25, 2010

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As you know,  I’m standing for Dunedin City Council in the upcoming elections with Greater Dunedin.  Several people have asked me for my opinion on the the current Council.    Rather than just a soapbox from me (happy to do that too, involves repeated use of the word debacle),  I’d rather look at what Dunedin thinks.

So, here’s my take on the recently released Dunedin City Council  Resident’s Opinion Survey.

–  Council is doing OK at some feel good services (Library 94% satisfaction, Gardens 92%, Museum 88%).

–  Council is not doing well at the infrastructure services (Sewerage 64%, Footpaths 53%, Building Consents 24%)

–  Council is failing in areas of challenge (new business 28%, leading development of sustainable community 26%, South Dunedin 11%).

–  Which gives terrible (and getting worse) overall satisfaction ratings for Council (value for money  26%, thriving city 29%) .

–   So what has gone wrong?  A paltry 27% are satisfied with consultation. Chin and Harland’s reported response to this is abysmal and quite ironic (ODT).  You simply don’t ask people for an opinion on how you are managing the City and then  insist that they are wrong for holding that opinion (methinks some reading up on misuse of power relationships might be in order for DCC senior management).   Despite the Council claiming that it does consult, nearly three quarters of Dunedin’s residents are not satisfied with consultation. Clearly the form of consultation is missing the boat.

– The opportunity has to be in the priorities for Council:  (unfortunately badly reported by the consultants – there could be much more in here).

• Finish new stadium
• Limit Council spending
• Elect new Council    (as this was unprompted by the survey, I think we can strongly interpret this as *NEW* Council rather than re-elect the old one).
• Reduce rates
• Address water / sewerage issues.

So that’s what the surveyed residents thought.   I’m interested in whether that matches your feelings.  Here’s some questions to get you going:

1. What are the biggest challenges facing Dunedin?

2. What are Dunedin’s biggest opportunities?

3.  What do you think the priorities should be for the new Council?

4.  What needs to change under a new Council?

5.  How could the new Council better consult so that the people of Dunedin feel an ownership of Council policies and activities?

6. What structures in Council might better respond to new and difficult challenges?

I really would like to hear from you on any or all of these questions (or any other thoughts).

Samuel Mann

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Posted in: Dunedin