Where’s the quality?

Recently, I have been browsing through the excellent publication by Fiona Kean called ‘From Tauranga to the Trenches’ from the Tauranga Heritage Collection.

One article was on ‘War Time Concerns’, which talks about 379 letters sent to local media from August 1914 to November 1918. Of those, 112 were about war related issues and the remaining letters were complaints - 247 of which were about the perceived poor performance of the council. Interestingly, points of discontent were strained relationships between council and rate payers and rising debt, so it seems those concerns were possibly at the point of no return even then for the past and successively named “Tauranga - Councils”.

As I understand it, elected council staff used to function on a voluntary basis with paid attendance expenses. It was only relatively recently that the Local Government Remuneration Directive of 2002 changed the system to salaried status, with the aim of attracting and retaining useful and better-qualified candidates who would bring improved management practices to local government positions - noting that on amalgamation, the Mount Borough Council had never had any debt. Since then, the quantity of standing candidates at election time seems to have increased, but has the quality?

D Wilson, Mount Maunganui.


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