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Community says “we will not go away!"

7 April 2009
Media statement
Community says “we will not go away!"

Despite media reports of Government assurances that “grassroots democracy” will be given “more say” when its decision is released today, one community coalition remains unconvinced.

Representatives from 33 community organisations from across Waitakere met yesterday to decide on actions that will be taken if the opportunity is not there for their voice to be heard.

“The objective of the exercise was to improve democracy,” said coalition spokesperson Tony Mayow, chair of Community Waitakere.

“The proposed governance model will weaken democracy. People who don’t know our community will decide how our money is used in our neighbourhoods.

“We don’t accept comments made by the Minister for Local Government that community groups had the chance for consultation prior to the report’s release. It is an entirely different matter to be involved in making submissions to a proposed governance concept than to responding to a defined model."

Iris Donoghue, chair of coalition member EcoMatters Environment Trust, emphasised the views expressed at the meeting.

“We’re not going to go away,” she said. “We’ll be looking to link with other community organisations across the region to present a stronger voice for community representation in the proposed regional governance."

Sentiments expressed at the meeting were that although important social wellbeing matters were identified in the report, there was no mechanism in place for these to be carried through.

“Consultation at select committee stage is too late,” Ms Donoghue said.

“Our experience in the past has shown that only minor adjustments are made at this stage.

“We’ve got so much expertise and experience in Waitakere on partnerships between the council and the community. We want to offer this knowledge to government to ensure that the governance model decided upon is sustainable at all sectors of society."

A further meeting will be held this Thursday to scrutinise the Government’s decision and determine further action needed.

Meanwhile the group remains vigilant.

ENDS

Editor’s notes:

Community Waitakere is a charitable trust dedicated to achieving a sustainable Waitakere. It supports and connects community organisations through community development initiatives and collaborative action.

EcoMatters Environment Trust is a charitable trust delivering a wide range of sustainability initiatives.

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