Formerly New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands and MP for the Northland Electorate of New Zealand.
JOHN CARTER - MAYOR OF THE FAR NORTH DISTRICT OF NEW ZEALAND
Moving forward together
Thursday 25 June 2015
Our destiny is in ourselves
Most of us have some idea of how we want our lives to look in 10, 20 or 30 years' time. We also accept that we need to take certain steps now to ensure that the life we end up living in the future is the life we dreamed of living. This may mean training for a better job, changing our diet and exercising more or saving for our retirement. Most of us, if asked, also have some idea of what we would like the Far North District to look like in 30 years. However, we probably spend less time thinking about this future than we do our own. Now is the time to think about the future of the Far North!
There is only one week left for you to tell us what you would like the Far North to look like in 2050. More than 800 people have already completed the Our Voices Our Vision questionnaire and 500 people have taken part in community discussions facilitated by Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes. This is an impressive result for a consultation campaign that has only run for a few weeks and tried to reach people who don't normally take part in the Council's strategic planning processes. However, we need to hear from as many people as possible if a cross-sector stakeholder reference group is to develop a shared vision for the District that reflects a wide range of values and perspectives. I strongly encourage you to provide feedback at www.telluswhatyouwant.co.nz before June 28. You can also fill in an Our Voices Our Vision brochure at one of our Council service centres if you don't have access to the Internet. It only takes 10-15 minutes to answer the questions, which are designed to find out what you value about living in the Far North. You will also go into a draw to win a tablet computer sponsored by Samsung and Spark.
People in Te Hiku Ward responded strongly when Social Development Minister Paula Bennett asked them in 2013 to suggest ways of ensuring that social spending in Kaitaia and the wider District was more effective. About 1,250 people took part in the Make It Happen Te Hiku Project which resulted in a community plan that social service agencies and the government are now implementing. We need to get a similar level of community buy-in to the Our Voices Our Vision Project. Please have your say before June 28 and help shape the future of the Far North. As someone famous once said, our destiny is not in the stars but in ourselves.